KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Philadelphia Experiment, the – “Philadelphia Experiment, the ” – [Ropeadope Records]

David Richoux   1/19/2005   CD, Jazz

Having nothing to do with disappearing Navy ships, AIDS or Kate Hepburn – this is a funky, soulful yet bouncy mostly drum/bass/keys trio with some guests. Very tasty rhythmic structures and snappy bass playing set this above a lot of other similar recordings. I put this in the same class as Soulive but the feel is very different. Track 5 is a cool take on Marvin Gaye’s Trouble Man Theme and track 10 is a slightly less cool take on Elton John’s Philadelphia Freedom – almost like a modern folk song version with Cello. *review by David Richoux

Bley,Paul;Koglmann,Franz – “Annette ” – [Hat Hut Records Ltd]

David Richoux   1/19/2005   CD, Jazz

Most tracks here are composed by Annette Peacock (except “Annette”) and are generally slowish, introspective and sometimes pretty. Her story in avant jazz & rock is unusual – she played one of the first Moog synths in public performance. (check out www.geocities.com/~zoom14st/ap/intro.html) She has had a long relationship with Paul Bley that was more than just music. Recorded at radio Bremen studio during 1992, Paul is the central focus on piano but Franz on flugle/trumpet has a lot to say. Gary peacock is mostly in the background…
*review by David Richoux

Reddy, Rob Sleeping Dogs – “Seeing By the Light of My … ” – [Knitting Factory Records]

David Richoux   1/16/2005   CD, Jazz

Yet another interesting combination of instruments and musicians from Knitting Factory – this time Charlie Burnham on violin (plucked or bowed) and mandolin sets a different mood for an otherwise “traditional” combo. He sometimes plays mandolin sounding something like Yomo Toro (Puerto Rican master of the Quatro) for a driving, non-bluegrass feel. Everybody else is likewise experimental but focused – not too much squonk but it stays exciting throughout the recording. Track 4 is a bit more like a slow blues – and like track 7 is very pretty. *review by David Richoux

Harley, Rufus – “Pied Piper of Jazz, the ” – [Label M]

David Richoux   1/16/2005   CD, Jazz

I actually say this guy play 15 years ago at the Scottish Games in Santa Rosa – among all of the traditional pipe bands (most of the audience did not “get it” but I thought it was a great idea.) Rufus Harley has to work extra hard to play jazz on the pipe chanter (the fingered part sometimes used without bag or drones) and the full “war pipes” because of the limited number of notes that can be played on the beast. This is a collection from various mid 1960’s Atlantic recordings and also features him on sax and flute. Some tracks are closer to novelty than jazz but they are all quite interesting. He has kept on playing (read the booklet) and there still is not another major jazz bagpiper after all these years! Wonder why….’ *review by David Richoux

Hill, Andrew – “Dusk ” – [Palmetto Records]

David Richoux   1/16/2005   CD, Jazz

Andrew Hill has been around the mainstream since the early Sixties, composing and playing piano with Dinah Washington, Roland Kirk and many others. Here he has assembled a team of “Knitting Factory Types” to check out this next century of jazz. Moving from slow and mellow piano with horn ensemble to moderate new-bop to rhythmic pomp (almost Latin but still outside that) to trumpet ballad to playful joys. There are new and old things together here, tasteful and sweet, but with an edge you will like.
*review by David Richoux

O’donnell, Kevin Quality Six – “Control Freak ” – [Delmark]

David Richoux   1/16/2005   CD, Jazz

Before you do anything with this, read the liner notes inside – hilarious! Then appreciate the extra fine quality this group puts into this music. Taking elements of various sorts of historical jazz, R & B, western swing and near rock & roll – these guys know their shit – there are some very fine vocals that wander around Tom Waits territory, a neat-o spoken word thing (eight and 13) and a killer Caravan (11.) Highest praises for the fiddle (also the vocalist), sax, bass and drums.. the others ain’t bad either! For once a modern/retro small jazz group that can do original stuff that feels new and old at the same time – not an easy task! Extra Swank Quality – now we gotta get their first record… *review by David Richoux

El’zabar, Kahil Ritual Trio – “Africa N’da Blues ” – [Delmark]

David Richoux   1/16/2005   CD, Jazz

Yet another in the series of recent recordings from various members of the AACM on Delmark, this time with percussionist Kahil El’Zabar’s Ritual Trio teaming up with Art Ensemble’s Malichi Favors on bass and guest Pharoh Sanders on reeds and piano. The result is very tasty free jazz with a mystical flavor – not a crazy as some of the Art Ensemble stuff from the past, not as long winded as some of Sanders recent recordings – if you can fit longer tracks into your show, give this a try! *review by David Richoux

Icp Orchestra – “Aan & Uit ” – [Icp]

David Richoux   1/16/2005   CD, Jazz

Channeling Bertold Brecht and Hoagy Carmichael via Loony Tunes, the ICP (Instant Composers Pool) Orchestra once again takes a odd look at modern composition, improv, jazz, swing and other fun things for this project. Strings and horns poot forth a wonderful stew with a sometimes feverish rhythm section (Han Bennink is dictator with Ernst Glerum on plucked & bowed bass) punctuated with co-leader Misha’s piano and unaccredited minimal gurgling vocals from time to time. As their website says: they are preferring to be, well… Dutch.
Lots of short & tasty tracks. I don’t know if this is a conducted group in performance – we will have to see when they come to Kuumbwa 10/26/04. If you like this, also check the jazz library for another Dutch wacko ‘orchestra:? Willem Breuker Kollektief.
*review by David Richoux

Noertaker’s Moxie – “Sketches of Catalonia ” – [Edgetone Records]

David Richoux   1/16/2005   CD, Jazz

Spanish Surrealist, Modern Art & Architecture and Jazz? Sure, why not? With graphic design that directly quotes the Miles Davis / Gil Evans masterpiece ‘Sketches of Spain’ this is the first of 3 in a suite of jazz compositions inspired by Dali, Miro and Gaudi. Recorded in San Francisco in 2001, this has a kind of post-bop cool flavor, not really very surreal at all. Still, it is a nice work and it should be interesting to hear the other two sessions. Added Note: Dali, Miro and Gaudi were all from the Catalonia region but are often misclassified as “Spanish Artists.” Some (many) Catalonians do not consider themselves to be part of Spain – there is a strong separatist movement. review by David Richoux

Nagl, Max – “Evil Garden, the ” – [November Music]

David Richoux   1/16/2005   CD, Jazz

The mixing of improv jazz and the writings of Edward Gorey is not a far-fetched thing. Macabre poetry, twisted words and spooky imagery and pooting saxes, plopping pianos and tweezy guitar & synths seem to go together like black oil on toast. This is mostly very minimal style, moody and sparse, some attempt at melodic lines (but some tracks pick up a little steam after a while.) The lyrics are read not in exact time with the music. Lol Coxhill and Julie Tippett take turns with the readings, but ‘duet? on #2. I like it all! *review by David Richoux

Glass, Daniel Trio – “Something Colorful ” – [Very Tall Music]

David Richoux   1/16/2005   CD, Jazz

very nice but energetic vibes-bass-drums instrumentals. A bit different feel from other recent vibe trios, maybe because the leader is the drummer. Most tracks are originals but there are a few covers of Bud Powell and others. It is hard to have “Edgy” music on vibes so this tends towards “Easy” instead. *review by David Richoux

Rivers, Sam Trio – “Firestorm ” – [Rivbea Sound Company]

David Richoux   1/16/2005   CD, Jazz

Just a trio, you say – but when all 3 players are multi – instrumentalists of great skill this becomes a miniature big band! All kinds of flexibility with shifting combinations of reeds, strings, percussion and piano following squirty paths and furious sheets of intertwined improv – very driving, yet very beautiful results. This is all live recording with no multi-tracking but you might think otherwise. There are a few grunty/shouting vocals with not much word action, but mostly this is instrumental. Sam River’s liner notes give the best possible description of this incredible performance – all true!
Track 3 is a bass solo – all the rest are trio form. *review by David Richoux

Skeriks Syncopated Taint Septe – “Skeriks Syncopated Taint Septe ” – [Ropeadope Records]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   CD, Jazz

Some Fun, Fine, Funky, Punky, Hip-Hop Jazz from Seattle. Saxophonist Skerik (he has been on many other recordings with groups like Critters Buggin’, Frog Brigade and Galactic.) There is a lot of variety here from Horn Driven Groove-Monster to Zappaesque Aligned Noodles, but nothing is too scary – I could have almost put this in A library… all tracks are instrumental – no vocals. No idea on Skerik’s real name. Recorded Summer of 2003 live in one session at the Owl & Thistle club in Seattle.
Track 2 has an odd Latin beat – not quite sure if it is a Rumba or something else, but it is way fun. Track 4 is just a short introduction to Track 5 a mostly very happy, pop rock jazz thing – let it play through! Track 6 features a twisted analog synth-piano and B-3 Organ duet with wild guitar.
Track 9 is a Double Bari-Sax Monster Mash -YOW!
The group name comes from the 1930’s Anti-Drug Czar Harry J. Anslinger – it was the term he used for the “Rhythmic and Moral Contamination that is Jazz? *review by Studebaker Hawk

Reefer Songs [coll] – [Mojo Records]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   CD, Jazz

Proving the often stated case that early Jazz Musicians were nothin’ but a lot of Dope Smokin’ Vipers that would soon corrupt the moral values of our “Youth”- this is a GREAT collection of songs that relate to the drug culture of the 1920s through the 1940s. There are solos, small groups and big bands singing about Dopey Joe, Minnie the Moocher, Jerry the Junker, Texas Tea, and all that other “Fine stuff.” These are some of the songs that inspired the revival of jug bands in the 1960s and the re-revival by groups like the Asylum Street Spankers and many others. Sometimes funny but there are some sweet-sad songs as well. Remember, grass was quasi-legal up until about 1937 so these were songs that fit into the culture of the times. Just the thing for your “4:20 Break” and as far as I can tell the lyrics are all clean (if suggestive…) 1996 release date. We also have another version in Blues *review by Studebaker Hawk

Gove County Philharmonic, the – “Circus Doesn’t Stop At…, the ” – [Pfmentum]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   CD, Jazz

Starting off with an old, scratchy recording of a pleasant little city park band (strings and horns) playing a waltz on a Sunday afternoon, the Grove County Philharmonic is a quaint look back at another century of music. THEN THE EVIL CLOWN HITS YOU IN THE FACE WITH A TURD PIE, KICKS YOU IN THE ASS WITH HIS FLOPPY SHOES AND STOMPS ALL OVER YOUR EARS WITH A SCREAMING, DISCORDANT MUTANT CIRCUS BAND FROM HELL!!!!!!
Actually, after that first shock things get stranger, nicer, and back to strange again – all over the place, musically until the band kinda just fades away down the road …. I like it! *review by Studebaker Hawk

Free Radicals – “Our Lady of Eternal Sunny… ” – [Rastaman Work Ethic]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   CD, Jazz

Take a whole bunch of people to recording studios in Houston and New York and turn them loose – what you get is an amazing mixture of jazz, funk/soul, noodles, beats, poots and honks – some great, some don’t go much of anywhere (and they cut after a few seconds – watch out!) A few tracks have a ska/rock flavor but overall it is mostly more leaning towards somewhat structured jazz. Very nice when they get going… *review by Studebaker Hawk

Brass Monkey Brass Band – “Live in Time and Space ” – [Weed]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   CD, Jazz

Some local brass wackos have formed this modern New Orleans Brass Band to put the SF/Improv flavor into some old standards and new tunes. Jon Birdsong (Lords of Outland) on the sousaphone really sets the funk pace but everybody else does a lot of interesting stuff here as well. Goofy fun in a “live in studio recording” (must have been some party!) Mostly instrumental with some incidental vocal things between songs. Track 7 is a nice take on a Steve Wonder tune and is actually 16 minutes long with a little gap – the end is a dub take (very odd) so let it play! *review by Studebaker Hawk

Naked Orchestra, the – “Brief Repairs on the Gradually ” – [Jonathan Freilich Records]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   CD, Jazz

The avant-garde music scene in New Orleans is a bit rough – there is so much other great musics going on there it gets ignored by most. Jonathan Freilich (New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars) put this group together to explore the outside possibilities of New Orleans & klezmer traditions. The others in this orchestra come from some of the best brass/funk/punk/junk bands. Some of the compositions are a bit stiff and “anti-funky” – something that is very hard to do in “The Big Sleazy,” but the rest have an unusual energy. Track 5 takes klezmer harmonies at an analytical pace so you can really hear the complexities of the chords and rhythms. *review by Studebaker Hawk

Youngblood Brass Band – “Unlearn ” – [E Pluribus Bumpass Music]

David Richoux   1/15/2005   CD, Jazz

Back with Attitude – the Youngbloods have jumped up several levels since their last CD. with special guest vocal by Ike Willis (ex-Zappa) track 4 and lots of & rap-poetry stuff with Talib Kweli and Mike Ladd – some bits of bad language tracks 7 & 8, DJ Skooly scratching and a solid brass section, lead by “The Warrior” on Sousaphone (check out his acoustic-weird tones on some tracks using no electronic effects…) These guys are from the suburbs of Madison, Wisconsin but they still live in the heart of New Orleans Soul. *review by David Richoux

New Klezmer Trio – “Short for Something ” – [Tzadik]

David Richoux   1/15/2005   CD, Jazz

Yet another in the “Radical Jewish Culture” series – this one finds Ben Goldberg noodle-ing around on his clarinet – mostly minor key and mysterious (even the Freylekhs are pretty slow,) Dan Seamans rumbling around the basement and Kenny Wollesen holding the whole thing together on percussion. Very dark and sad yet beautiful music on this CD. *review by David Richoux

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