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Motel by Pak

The New York City-based trio occasionally works with 13/8 time signatures for a rather dizzying set, awash with odd-metered rhythms and frenetic, avant-garde type rock grooves. Hold on to your seat for a ride that will shockingly entertain you.

Bassist Jesse Krakow and drummer Keith Abrams handle the incredibly difficult rhythmic motifs with near-flawless ease here. At times, the music might seem like a slice of controlled chaos via Ron Anderson’s hard-rock guitar riffs atop a constantly changing flow. Its balls to the walls as the band along with assistance from saxophonist Ross Bonadonna, trumpeter Tim Byrnes, violinist Carla Kihlstedt and others purvey a jazzy element in spots. But, during certain movements, the ensemble toys with King Crimson style progressive rock measures amid some free-style escapades. It’s a tangled web of complexities complete with off-kilter ostinatos, driving bass lines and peppery horns. At times, workouts like these tend to seem pompous and self-serving. Yet, the compositions presented here, do indeed gel, partly due to the musicians’ noticeable sense of commitment. Moreover, the artists’ focused approach, and serious-minded exchanges are spiced up by either Anderson or Krakow’s tongue-in-cheek vocal gyrations. To that end, these pieces do project elements of wit and whimsy to counterbalance the instrumentalists’ undeniably, impressive technical faculties. (Recommended.... )

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Pak
  • CD Title: Motel
  • Genre: Free Jazz / Avante Garde
  • Year Released: 2005
  • Record Label: Ra Sounds
  • Musicians: Ron Anderson (guitar, piano & voice), Jesse Krakow (bass & voice), Keith Abrams (drums). With special guests: Carla Kihlstedt (violin), Ross Bonadonna (alto & baritone sax, 2nd piano), Tim Byrnes (trumpet), Stephen Gauci (tenor sax)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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