Music Reviews

Ware, Bill – “Sir Duke ” – [Knitting Factory Records]

David Richoux   1/19/2005   CD, Jazz

Like many other jazzers, Bill Ware shows his respects to The Duke (and I don’t mean John Wayne) with a selection of his classics. With just the addition of Marc Ribot on the guitar, this recording does not have quite the same pulse & drive of his “Vibe” CD from a while back, but it is still quite good. The up songs are tasty, especially Caravan and “A” Train but the moodier songs need a little something, in my opinion. *review by David Richoux

Cohen, Greg – “Way Low ” – [Jasrac]

David Richoux   1/19/2005   CD, Jazz

Bassist Greg Cohen has lined up a bunch of his New York friends to make this VERY SWANK recording. Taking a few cuts from Duke Ellington (the little known title track and Creole Rhapsody) a Bud Powell tune and he rest his own compositions, Cohen really sets up a great, if short CD. Dave Douglas on the vital trumpet and Scott Robinson on the reeds are outstanding, but the rest of the group ain’t small change either… check it all out, please! *review by David Richoux

Ballin’ the Jack – “Big Head, the ” – [Knitting Factory Records]

David Richoux   1/19/2005   CD, Jazz

This 2nd installment from the group of KFR regulars is an outstanding look back to the days of big band jazz as it progressed through “Hot Jazz” to “Swing” to “Bop.” The adaptation and arrangements of both hits and somewhat obscure songs by Ellington, Coleman Hawkins, and others bring the genre into the 21st century with just a little kicking and screaming. Hot and tasty licks (including some from Anthony Coleman on the B3 organ this time) – even a Glenn Miller standard ballad is turned into a moody sax and bone gumbo (samples of a 30’s announcer and Miller Orchestra performance are blended into the mix.) Ballin’ the Jack have done the research well, and I think they had a lot of fun making this record. Not scary at all – just wonderful and varied – give any track a spin! *review by David Richoux

Youngblood Brass Band – “Word on the Street ” – [E Pluribus Bumpass Music]

David Richoux   1/19/2005   CD, Jazz

Much like the A La Carte Brass & Percussion we have added recently, this group is not from New Orleans but they have learned well from the many 3rd Generation street brass groups of New Orleans – recently they went to that city and won first place in a semi-formal competition for this style. Not bad for a bunch of white highschool punks from the Milwaukee area who used to call the group ” One Lard Biskit.” Very tight horn section, fluid bass-tuba lines, good drumming, solo and group vocals and a overall sense of fun and well learned roots make this a worthwhile addition to the KFJC library – check it out! *review by David Richoux

Romus, Rent-Life’s Blood Trio – “Blood Motions ” – [Jazzheads]

David Richoux   1/19/2005   CD, Jazz

Fresh from his appearance at a local bowling lane (well, actually recorded a couple of years ago) – Rent Romus and his Life’s Blood Trio take on some classic Mingus bop, Dolphy freejazz and some fresh honkin’ squalkin’ screamin’ Saxophone displays – minimal but very supporting bass and drums let Rent go wild on his horn. You know what you are in for, so you Better Get Hit In Your Soul! *review by David Richoux

Bitches Brew – “Gooey Dewey ” – [Flatbed Lamborgini]

David Richoux   1/19/2005   CD, Jazz

A lot of die-hard jazz fanatics were extremely pissed when Miles went into his “electro-fusion” period, mixing effects, rock instruments and “non-jazz” elements to his work. This recording is a tribute to those times (much like “Yo Miles”) but the focus is more on the interplay between the sax and trumpet with the rhythm section mostly relegated to laying down a strong groove. Marc Collins on didjeridoo (track 4) is a nice change-up. If you like Electro-Miles, you will like this recording… *review by David Richoux

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

Newsom, Joanna – “Yarn and Glue” – [Self-released]

ophelia necro   1/19/2005   A Library, CD

This is the 2nd E.P. (2003) from the Gelfling-esque (obscure Dark Crystal reference), Gunny-Sax wearing, harp-playing angel that is Joanna Newsom. 5 songs of Miss Newsom doing what she does best , singing in her peculiar voice while playing the harp. Tracks 1, 2 & 5 are also on her full length album (the Milk-Eyed Mender.) A lot of people find her voice hard to take, but I find it pleasantly childlike. I also find the combination of her unique voice with the soothing quality of the harp to be beautifully unnerving. I mostly admire her song writing talents. Listen carefully, her words speak volumes. Miss Newsom lives in S.F. and is apparently second cousin of politician Gavin Newsom. She recently played shows with Devendra Banhart and Cat Power. It might be an acquired taste for some, but I find it all delicious. Try track 4 to start…


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

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