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Meet The Curlews! by Curlew

Curlew are one of those darn-near unclassifiable bands: part art/prog-rock, part-fusion jazz, part avant-garde jazz, with over/undertones of 20th century classical/notated music and the blues. Curlew was also one of the musical homes of one of the premier improvising cellists of Our Time, the late Tom Cora. Aside from Cora’s passing, the band has undergone some other personnel changes - only saxophonist George Cartwright and guitarist Davey Williams remain from the original line-up (which has, from times to time, featured keyboardist Wayne Horvitz and vocalist Amy Denio). Can Curlew survive? I hear a voice from the wilderness say - the answer’s yes. While nobody can "replace" Cora or former bassist Ann Rupel, the new kids - drummer Bruce Golden, bassist Fred Chalenor and pianist Chris Parker - do the band’s wildly eclectic, good-humored tradition of focused zaniness proud. The band accentuates their Southern roots further this time ‘round, and they rock a bit more than before, but don’t fear the sellout. Note the powerful McCoy Tyner-esque piano solo on "Meet The Curlews," not to mention Williams’ scorching blues-charged slide work and the Ornette Coleman harmelodic sound of "Cold Ride" which frequently swerves into jaunty urban(e) blues territory a la Horace Silver and Art Blakey. The promise that fusion - a wild, unpredictable amalgam of the best facets of jazz, rock & whatever - held was betrayed to lowest-common-denominator-thinking circa 1975. Curlew rescues, revives and goes a far way to delivering on that promise.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Curlew
  • CD Title: Meet The Curlews!
  • Genre: Fusion
  • Year Released: 2002
  • Record Label: Cuneiform
  • Rating: Three Stars
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