KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

A La Carte Brass + Percussion – “Live on U ” – [Union Records]

David Richoux   1/19/2005   CD, Jazz

It has taken almost 20 years for the music of the Dirty Dozen and ReBirth Brass Bands to finally expand out of New Orleans, finding young musicians who now understand that it is something more than just brass and percussion – it is a drive, a spirit, and “A LA CARTE has got it, plenty! They are from the Washington D.C. area, been around since 1994 and they take a lot of influence from the D.D. (they use that band’s arrangement of Caravan) I really enjoyed this live and lively performance. The 4 man percussion section is quite strong, especially when the Brazilian samba style beat gets going. The trumpets and bari sax are also very hot- and the tuba is very much in control of the whole thing! Slipping in a few rock/soul/torch songs sung by Shaun Murphy (of Little Feat) and a rapping track were nice touches.
Unusual “vocal drumming” on track 12! *review by David Richoux

Blythe, Arthur Trio – “Spirits in the Field ” – [Savant Records]

David Richoux   1/19/2005   CD, Jazz

Arthur Blythe and Bob Stewart have a long association, and they really work well together. The tuba is providing just as much “melody” as rhythm and Stewart really knows how to play! Blythe on Alto is both tuneful and honking (at points) but mostly the fluid style he has mastered weaves around the tuba voice so amazingly well. When you ad the incredible percussion of Cecil Brooks to the mix – this little trio becomes a monster! There is a taste of New Orleans street / funk, a lot of driving hard bop, and just a ton of wonderful interaction in music. This was recorded live in Amsterdam in 1999, the audience is really into it! Not scary, just great! *review by David Richoux

Mora’s Modern Rhythmists – “Call of the Freaks ” – [Mr. Ace Records]

David Richoux   1/19/2005   CD, Jazz

This project from southern California’s ultra retro swing band picks some of the more obscure tunes from jazz history. Some male, some female vocals, some novelty renditions of interesting songs that were not especially “hits” – but they do have merit. Please remember that jazz musicians were not considered respectable in all social circles back in those days – these songs reflect some of that “outsider” status. Fun and swinging stuff!
*review by David Richoux

Dixie Power Trio – “Ain’t My Fault ” – [Dpt, Inc/New Line Brass]

David Richoux   1/19/2005   CD, Jazz

The third CD from this multi-talented east coast trio plus one – mixing powerful tuba lines with jazz/zydeco/boogie style music. This group is also now part of the New Line Brass Band but I think they actually work better in quartet form. (A few of the tracks have extra musicians from the NLBB helping out.) New Orleans Mardi Gras standards mix well with swinging dixie tunes and band originals. The shifting from trumpet to accordion is interesting and gives the band a whole new flavor, but it is Andy Kochenour on tuba that makes the group really move! *review by David Richoux

Gress, Drew – “Spin & Drift ” – [Premonition Records]

David Richoux   1/19/2005   CD, Jazz

Complex quartet stuff here with Drew Gress mostly on bass (but some pedal steel,) Tim Berne on reeds (with some multi-track recording,) Uri Caine on piano and Tom Rainey on drums. Not very squonky – it moves right along even with extended bass solos. Tasty! *review by David Richoux

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

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