Displaying items by tag: Acid Jazz - jazzreview.com - Your Jazz Music Connection - jazzreview.com - Your Jazz Music Connection http://www.jazzreview.com Mon, 22 May 2017 12:23:27 -0500 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Incognito Goodbye To Yesterday Radio Edit http://www.jazzreview.com/free-jazz-mp3-downloads/incognito-goodbye-to-yesterday-radio-edit.html http://www.jazzreview.com/free-jazz-mp3-downloads/incognito-goodbye-to-yesterday-radio-edit.html "Goodbye To Yesterday" is the debut single from Incognito's 15th album Surreal. Bandleader Jean-Paul "Bluey" Maunick recalls the genesis of the song, "Goodbye To Yesterday" featuring Mo Brandis, who also co-wrote and co-produced the track with me, was the by-product of two creative minds a generation apart, proves that great melodies and well crafted lyrics hold the key to creations that have a timeless quality to them. This song could have easily been sung by Steve Winwood in the 60's, Stevie Wonder in the 70's, Michael Jackson in the 80's, George Michael in the 90's. The catchy horn lines arranged…

A SURREAL INTRODUCTION
By Bluey of Incognito

Say the word surreal and various things come to mind - dreamlike, unreal, fantastic, odd, bizarre or even weird. For me the experiences leading to the final outcome of Incognito's fifteenth studio album have been an amalgamation of all these synonyms and expressions!

We have our own sound and we have a fan base worldwide, but this was not the time to sit on our laurels or cut corners to compete in a struggling market place, nor was it time to just do just enough to get by. For each one of us taking part in the making of Surreal this was our chance to make bold statements, hone in our skills, dig deep into our creative souls and produce a body of work that we would all be extremely proud of. Job done!

On the 19th of February 2012 the album was completed and it was an incredible sensation to ride with the band with the tracks blasting out of the car stereo system.  It's one thing to have lived with these songs for several months in the studio, but the true satisfaction comes from enjoying the songs without critically analyzing them.

Unlike the last album apart from the welcome appearance of my awesome musical muse Maysa and a few special guest musicians, this was a real band effort with most of the material performed by the current touring band.  My focus from day one was song writing. From 50 songs down to 30, and then to 25 solid recordings and finally to the chosen 14 that makes Surreal.

From the thunderous opening of the very funky bass driven "The Less You Know," co-produced and co-written by our bass player Francis Hylton. Maysa delivers like only she can with a sweetness that is not only contrasting to the heavy rhythm but with a tonal delivery that combines to create something totally fresh and unique. Maysa is also featured on "Capricorn Sun," a song which I had written on my guitar after reflecting on a friend's ongoing battles with his Capricorn partner. The song is given greater expression by Maysa's outstanding voice.

From the moment I played "Goodbye To Yesterday," to my band, my manager, my family and our various international record companies, I got the same response... "That's the first single" they all chimed!  Co-written and co-produced by the band's new wonder kid, Mo Brandis, this song has had an amazing effect on everybody involved in the Incognito machinery. If there is a young vocalist that can deliver on both sides as a modern R&B vocalist and a soulful old school crooner - it is Mo! This song and "Don't Wanna Know," came from one the most enjoyable co-writing sessions I've ever had the pleasure to be a part of.
The last of his three cuts "This Must Be Love" came from a band collaborative effort in early 2011. I had written the lyrics as and expression of gratitude for the presence of love in my life.

Song writing is such a personal thing and lyric writing, in particular,  is something that I have always felt uneasy with when collaborating. This was indeed not the case on this album, first with Mo and then with Natalie (Williams). I felt strength in sharing ideas and formulating stories and real joy in the structure of the melodies. "Above The Night" was the first of three songs featuring Natalie Williams and it still blows me away every time I hear it. I first became aware of Natalie when we played Ronnie Scott's and she was the lead vocalist of the house band. My first reaction was "She is amazing, what can we do to get this super busy bee (She is the most in demand vocalist in London) to join the band. With the help of our intrepid musical director Matt Cooper, who was also part of this writing partnership, we began a pressure group that she finally relented to.  "Restless As We are" and the sparse 70's rhythm box inspired Bossa Nova "The Stars From Here," are the other cuts featuring Natalie.

If there was ever one person that you need in your corner to deliver massive vocal performances throughout heavy touring schedules and time constricted studio sessions, it is Vanessa Haynes. "Ain't It Time," "Don't Break Me Down" and "To Be With You" are three fine examples of her incredible power and subtlety. Her naturally giving nature is reflected in each of her performances. There is a smile on my face whenever Vanessa is around and now listening to her cuts on this album, I realize that the smile will be there whenever I listen to these songs!

Surreal's penultimate track, "The Way You Love," is collaboration with my dear friend and Incognito contributor Richard Bull, and as can be expected, his drum grooves and his bass lines dominate the proceedings, creating a muscular platform for the unison vocals to dance on.

Jazz funk hardcore Incognito fans will be happy to hear that my passion for the music that shaped my musical career is on display in the form of two driving instrumentals "Rivers On The Sun," complete with solos and a superb horn arrangement, and "Thoughtful Fantasies," a nod to our beloved Brazilian Funk with all horns blazing, percussion break and everything!

To complete the package, I turned to West London's highly creative graphic designer, Mitchy Bwoy, which has resulted in the album's vibrant and distinctive look. The great surrealist painter Salvador Dali once said, "At the age of six I wanted to be a cook. At seven I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since."
With this album another part of my ambition has been realized... I'm a lucky fellow!

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (1888 Media) Free Jazz MP3 Downloads Thu, 05 Apr 2012 20:00:58 -0500
Joe Blessett Chillin out in Dark Places http://www.jazzreview.com/jazz-news/press-releases/joe-blessett-chillin-out-in-dark-places.html http://www.jazzreview.com/jazz-news/press-releases/joe-blessett-chillin-out-in-dark-places.html I'm often asked where I think jazz is headed and which jazz musicians are pushing the envelope without boring the listener. 

Chillin out in Dark Places

I'm often asked where I think jazz is headed and which jazz musicians are pushing the envelope without boring the listener. My answer to the first question is, "I don't know." Until jazz artists start integrating the language of today's diverse music buyers, and jazz fans allow the music to move beyond lighthouse status, the art form may simply languish as live performances of what we've already heard on recordings—only not as good. My answer to the second questions is easier. One exciting new artist who is trying new things is Joe Blessett.

As his new Chillin out in Dark Places shows, Blessett isn't afraid of blending music genres together for sophisticated results or recording what he hears in his head, sidestepping jazz tradition and convention. His new album squeezes soul, gospel, jazz and electronica into a tight space while retaining clarity and cohesion.

In this regard, Chillin out in Dark Places is the jazz equivalent of a lava lamp. I found my ears listening to the music the same way my eyes linger on a lamp's colorful globs drifting upward and downward in slow motion, breaking apart and reshaping to resume the process. This isn't jazz as you know it but an amalgam of influences resulting in a new, busier jazz sound.

What's most remarkable about Blessett is that he plays all of the instruments on the album. That includes the saxophone, six-string guitar, keyboards and bass. He's something of a computer whiz as well, sequencing the sounds of instruments and creating dubs to interact playfully with the acoustic music. He also engineered the session, composed all of the songs and produced.

On Better Days, for example, you hear a Hammond organ, two Fender Rhodes pianos and an alto saxophone supported by a slow steady beat and synthesized strings. On Slayers and Players, there's a piano backed by a saxophone and synthesized banjo sequences plus a big, thick bass.

Some might argue that the music is merely trendy shopping music taken to a new level or smooth jazz with radials. I don't think so. I think that summation sells Blessett short. There's a vision here, a concept, and he brings it together with polish and plenty of surprises.

According to Blessett's press release,

"I create music for my listening pleasure, in a private studio with the help of some great software and a little imagination. Creating my own life's sound track, translating what I see to what I hear. I am a private person who does not feel at home being the center of attention. With that being said, I have no plans to perform live in the immediate future. Maybe one day, but not today."

Again, this isn't jazz the way we know it. And Blessett is a little mysterious (I couldn't find a single picture of him). But it is where jazz needs to be headed. Experimental and risky without stultifying the listener. I'm not sure how many more dollars jazz musicians can expect to take in by cranking out the same stuff over and over again. Blessett is firmly a jazz head whose ears are open and head is wrapped around technology, bringing them into the jazz fold rather than selling out. Works for me.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Joe Blessett) Press Releases Thu, 03 Nov 2011 16:58:38 -0500
Sacred Ground by the International Troubadours http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/various-jazz-styles-cd-reviews/sacred-ground-by-the-international-troubadours.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/various-jazz-styles-cd-reviews/sacred-ground-by-the-international-troubadours.html Sacred Ground by the International Troubadours
Hendrix meets Bill Frisell and the Dalai Lama

A strange mix—the electric guitar rides from smooth jazz to Hendrix while virtuoso bass and percussion are active, sympathetic supporters, whether the vibe is Congo-primitive, New Age, mainstream jazz or rock. The Italian-based International Troubadours take Bill Frissel's eclectic lead, but what he puts into separate focused albums they here compress into one bold attempt to update the music of the original troubadours and their mystic, pagan predecessors.

It might have worked if they hadn't gone totally over the top with vocalise on almost all unlucky 13 tracks. The amateurish imitation of mystical chant is more likely to produce laughter than the deep thought that precedes Enlightment. Vocal nonsense reaches its height on "Salutati" as near screams try to match an amped-up wailing rock guitar, in imitation of the ecstatic wails of a pagan worshipper. Few listeners will become believers in either the object of devotion or this band.

Too bad because, aside from inane vocalizations, there's some effective trio playing; the group is comfortable with rock and jazz. "Col di Lana" includes both and is the best of these all-original tunes. After a mysteriously moody opening, guitarist Alberto N. A. Turra picks out a Spanish-tinged melody and then does most of the solo heavy-lifting as Spanish morphs into gently swinging jazz. Tension increases and his tone becomes more aggressive until it reaches a rock fuzz-guitar climax. Bass and percussion provide right-on support through the progression of vibes here, and throughout the session.

Longer tracks alternate with brief entr'actes, primarily for percussion from bass drum to triangle. These pieces, all under two minutes, are accented with a few light electronic touches and, thankfully, even fewer vocal agonies.

The idea may have been a good one, but the execution isn't. Recommended only if your karaoke machine can delete the voices. (Note: the CD comes in at less than a skimpy 50-minutes, but that's not always a bad thing.)

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Ron Bierman) Various Jazz Styles - CD Reviews Mon, 19 Sep 2011 14:30:02 -0500
Best of RLWK - B-3 Organic Grooves by Ron Levy's Wild Kingdom http://www.jazzreview.com/jazz-spotlights/best-of-rlwk-b-3-organic-grooves-by-ron-levy-s-wild-kingdom.html http://www.jazzreview.com/jazz-spotlights/best-of-rlwk-b-3-organic-grooves-by-ron-levy-s-wild-kingdom.html Best of RLWK - B-3 Organic Grooves by Ron Levy's Wild Kingdom
Ron Levy -- composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist -- began his career at age 18 touring with blues legend Albert King. He soon went on to t...

Ron Levy -- composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist -- began his career at age 18 touring with blues legend Albert King. He soon went on to tour the world for seven years with the "King of the Blues" Mr. B. B. King, recording 12 albums including the classic Grammy Award-winning 'Live at Cook County Jail.' Levy also appeared in the Oscar-winning film 'When We Were Kings' and the subsequent HBO special, 'B.B. King, Live in Africa' as well as 'The Ed Sullivan Show", Mike Douglas, Merv Griffin, Johnny Carson, Hugh Hefner's Playboy Mansion, Don Cornelius' Soul Train, Sanford & Son, etc, etc shows of the 70's. Nostalgia sure ain't what it used to be!

During the 1980s Ron toured and recorded with Luther 'Guitar Jr.' Johnson and Roomful of Blues, touring the USA and Europe. He was also the pianist/organist, arranger and associate producer for Hammond Scott's fabled Black Top Records of New Orleans. Ron appeared on numerous critically praised blues recordings of that period, including those of his own Ron Levy's Wild Kingdom band, featuring members of Roomful of Blues, The Neville Brothers and the Fabulous Thunderbirds. Several of their efforts with Earl King were nominated for Grammy awards.

Learning his studio lessons well, Levy as producer and A&R man, then co-founded Rounder's Bullseye Blues label, garnering 9 Grammy nominations, several WC Handy 'Album of the Year' awards and Living Blues Magazine's 1994 'Producer of the Year' award. With Bullseye, Levy collaborated with multi-genre artists such as Charles Brown, Bonnie Raitt, Lowell Fulson, Champion Jack Dupree, Willie Mitchell, Otis Clay, Ann Peebles, ReBirth Brass Band, George Porter, The Persuasions, The Wild Magnolias w/ Dr. John & Willie Tee, Larry Davis, Jimmy McCracklin, Smokin' Joe Kubek and many others.

He later co-founded the short-lived but critically acclaimed Cannonball Blues & Jazz label, producing/recording Charles Earland, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Melvin Sparks, Idris Muhammad w/ Joe Lovano, George Coleman & Gary Bartz, Pucho and his Latin Soul Brothers, Reuben Wilson, Johnny Bassett, Alberta Adams and others. On these labels, Ron Levy's Wild Kingdom's seminal explosive grooves can be heard on three highly acclaimed CDs, including 'Zim Zam Zoom' (**** Downbeat), 'B-3 Blues & Grooves' ( **** ' All Music Guide) and 'GreaZe is What's Good' (**** Jazziz).

Levy resumed his cross-country touring and performing in 2000, with Ron Levy's Wild Kingdom, recording a 'live' CD on his newly formed Levtron.com label with his high-energy organ trio in Boulder, CO. He also wrote and recorded several original songs on Karl Denson's 'Dance Lesson #2' on Blue Note records, along with Chris Wood of MMW, DJ Logic, Charlie Hunter, Melvin Sparks, Zak Najor and Leon Spencer Jr. Levy's original 'Like, Like Dope' reached #1 on the CMJ report. Levy also toured in Brazil with his Brazilian Wild Kingdom and produced Fernando Noronha & Black Soul's 'Blues from Hell,' album which won the 2002 Brazilian Grammy award in the Blues-Rock category.

More recently, Ron Levy's Wild Kingdom Levtron.com CD 'Finding My Way' was cited as the "#1 Soul-Jazz CD of 2003.' It, along with its newly released follow-up 'After Midnight Grooves' [summer 2004], features all-new Levy compositions performed by long-time musical associates and friends Karl Denson, Melvin Sparks and Russ Lawton. P-Vine records of Japan has currently released 'Organ Colossus, The Very Best of Ron Levy's Wild Kingdom' anthology of the last three RLWK Levtron.com albums.

Levy's focus on composing/publishing/licensing has currently earned him numerous BMI performance credits on HBO's 'Sex And The City' and 'The Wire,' CBS's 'JAG' and 'NFL Today,' ABC's 'World News This Morning,' 'Nothing Sacred' and 'Good Morning America,' Fox's 'NFL on Fox' and 'NFL Sunday,' along with the films, 'Cop Land,' 'Keys To Tulsa,' 'Six Ways To Sunday,' 'Johnny Skidmarks' and 'Meeting Daddy.'

A Boston native, Levy resides on Boston's North Shore and is currently wrapping up his latest RLWK recording project 'VooDoo Boogaloo' [w/Karl Denson, Melvin Sparks, Russ Lawton, Jerry Portnoy and 'Sax' Gordon] set for a January 2005 release. Stay tuned and G-d willing, much more to come!

"Words are the pen of the heart, but melody is the pen of the soul" - Rav Schneur Zalman

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Ron Levy) Jazz Spotlights Wed, 30 Jun 2004 19:00:00 -0500
Gather Round by Jim Love & The Blue Groove http://www.jazzreview.com/jazz-spotlights/gather-round-by-jim-love-the-blue-groove.html http://www.jazzreview.com/jazz-spotlights/gather-round-by-jim-love-the-blue-groove.html Gather Round by Jim Love & The Blue Groove
Introducing from Philadelphia, Jim Love & The Blue Groove - a mastermind of Jazz evolution, taking Jazz as we know it to the next level through urb...

Introducing from Philadelphia, Jim Love & The Blue Groove - a mastermind of Jazz evolution, taking Jazz as we know it to the next level through urban beats and hep-cat swing. JLBG features some of the hippest young players in the Philly Jazz scene, including the remarkable turntable talents of DJs Diz and Dstar, and the neo-Holiday vocals of Jillian Ritchie. So, Gather "Round, open your ears and your mind, and be prepared to get your Groove on!

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Jim Love) Jazz Spotlights Mon, 30 Jun 2003 19:00:00 -0500
Finding My Way by Ron Levy's Wild Kingdom http://www.jazzreview.com/jazz-spotlights/finding-my-way-by-ron-levy-s-wild-kingdom.html http://www.jazzreview.com/jazz-spotlights/finding-my-way-by-ron-levy-s-wild-kingdom.html Finding My Way by Ron Levy's Wild Kingdom
Starting w/ blues Legend Albert King at the age of 17, in 1968, Ron Levy has since gone on to tour w/ BB King, Roomful of Blues and his own soul-ja...

Starting w/ blues Legend Albert King at the age of 17, in 1968, Ron Levy has since gone on to tour w/ BB King, Roomful of Blues and his own soul-jazz organ trio, Ron Levys Wild Kingdom. He has been nominated for 9 Grammy Awards as a producer of jazz and blues recordings and named "Producer of the year" by Living Blues magazine several times. His soulful funky-jazz compositions have been used on every major & cable TV network as well as 9 major studio films. His latest release "Finding My Way" has been named as #1 Soul Jazz release of 2003.'

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Ron Levy) Jazz Spotlights Thu, 30 Jun 2005 19:00:00 -0500
Rise Up! by Dr. Lonnie Smith http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/acid-jazz-cd-reviews/rise-up-by-dr.-lonnie-smith.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/acid-jazz-cd-reviews/rise-up-by-dr.-lonnie-smith.html One of the more prominent exponents of the Hammond B-3 organ, Dr. Lonnie Smith resets the groove quotient on his third album for Palmetto Records. He doesn’t reinvent th…

One of the more prominent exponents of the Hammond B-3 organ, Dr. Lonnie Smith resets the groove quotient on his third album for Palmetto Records. He doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but lets the good times roll on his genial funk and soul-drenched spin on The Beatles’ "Come Together," complete with his gruff vocals over the top. The organist melds the blues into his bag of tricks, evidenced by his deep phrasings and upper-register trills during the emotive and strutting "And the World Weeps."

One of my favorite tracks is Smith’s funk-rock and boogaloo cover of the pop hit "People Make The World Go Round," where he teems with alto saxophonist Donald Harrison for the primary theme. In addition, guitarist Peter Bernstein’s sleek, medium-toned solo provides a cool vibe and then passes the baton back to Smith who raises the temperature via his darting lines and modulating chord clusters.

Smith is a master at generating tension and release based statements. He also has an acute penchant for revitalizing pop or rock standards and morphing into his own music vernacular. Smith is a strong composer as well. For example, his "Voodoo Doll" spawns lucid imagery of an ethereal New Orleans locale, spiced with wordless vocals and Big Easy reared drummer, Herlin Riley’s rolling tom tom patterns. Here, Smith devises a shadowy theme that might indeed cast a spell on the willing listener. No doubt, the artist professes ample doses of good cheer amid his upbeat persona throughout this entertaining studio set.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Glenn Astarita) Acid Jazz - CD Reviews Sat, 10 Jan 2009 12:00:00 -0600
Blue Plate Special by Will Bernard http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/acid-jazz-cd-reviews/blue-plate-special-by-will-bernard.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/acid-jazz-cd-reviews/blue-plate-special-by-will-bernard.html Blue Plate Special is guitarist Will Bernard’s follow up to his 2008 Grammy-nominated Party Hats and his second recording for Palmetto Records. This disc features…

Blue Plate Special is guitarist Will Bernard’s follow up to his 2008 Grammy-nominated Party Hats and his second recording for Palmetto Records. This disc features John Medeski, of Medeski, Martin and Wood fame, Stanton Moore and Andy Hess. Bernard has been involved in a variety of musical groups including T.J. Kirk, whose recording If Four Was One was nominated for a 1997 Grammy. He has worked with drummer Stanton Moore before and was featured on the record Emphasis on Parenthesis. He has been touring with Moore’s Trio, Robert Walter’s 20th Congress, Groundation and various other bands. Bernard has appeared with his own band across the country and in Canada and has opened for Herbie Hancock, Jimmy McGriff, The Funky Meters, John Scofield, Medeski, Martin and Wood, Ziggy Modeliste and the Charlie Hunter Quartet.

Bernard composed most of the tunes on this disc. The title track was co-written by all four band mates. There isn’t a bad track on this record as the scope of musical styles is sure to appeal to just about everyone. The band presents a funky, engaging, infectious assortment of sounds here.

Of special note is "Magpie," hard-driving, funky and fast in which Bernard’s guitar skills really shine. The title track has a solid, rolling groove with piano and guitar accented throughout. "571" features bass and drum with screeching distortion for a trippy electronic sound. "Blister" has a spacey, airy sound with guitar and keys playing back and forth over soft, deep bass and crisp, fresh drums. "Gen Pop" has a haunting, emotional appeal as fluttering keys accent the sultry, crooning guitar and fades away at the end with receding waves of reverberation. "Frontwinder" offers up a bit of good old country-western flavor. The band does a great job with "Gonzo," with organ and guitar bringing another musical dimension into this mix. Closing off the disc is traditional with a twist in "How Great Thou Art," Medeski’s hymnal organ sounds opening up to Bernard’s guitar voicing the lyrics.

A great, fresh-sounding and fun disc, Bernard’s Blue Plate Special offers up both variety and creativity with an impeccable mix of musicians and delightful array of musical styles.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Veronica Timpanelli) Acid Jazz - CD Reviews Sat, 07 Jun 2008 07:00:00 -0500
Sketches of a Neighborhood by The Bass Mint Bros. http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/acid-jazz-cd-reviews/sketches-of-a-neighborhood-by-the-bass-mint-bros.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/acid-jazz-cd-reviews/sketches-of-a-neighborhood-by-the-bass-mint-bros.html Some groups do an excellent job of describing their sound, style, and very essence in their promo material. Some do a lousy job, the description turning out to be quite …

Some groups do an excellent job of describing their sound, style, and very essence in their promo material. Some do a lousy job, the description turning out to be quite contrary to their perceived notion of themselves. I was quite pleased to discover that The Bass Mint Bros. band belongs in the former category, easily coalescing their sense of who they are with the reality of it all. Translation: They are who they say they are and then some. Paraphrasing their own descriptive, "Acid, urban, old-school jazzy/funky/soul," just leaves you nodding in total agreement between bopping your head in time to the contagious grooves put forth on this can’t-stand-still debut album by a group of former studio and backing musicians.

The solid material, reminiscent of the jazz organs of Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff, and Booker T., also provides the dance-funk of groups like Fishbelly Black and Down to the Bone to answer any calls for good ol’ backbone rhythm with fat bass lines. Immediately attacking you with funk grooves from the opening track, "Awakened By a Noon Day Sun" (appropriately titled) all the way through the poetry-rich finale "Valley Park Groove," there are simply no idle moments in this collection. As organist Mwalim explains, "With some of this, I reached back to the days when we recorded using two tape-decks patches together and endless overdubbing to get some of the dirty sounds I was looking for." Quite simply, it worked. Hats off to the cats who drew these Sketches of a Neighborhood. They certainly belong in our neighborhood of good, funky jazz.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Ronald Jackson) Acid Jazz - CD Reviews Sat, 02 Feb 2008 12:00:00 -0600
Clipperton Extended by State of Monc http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/acid-jazz-cd-reviews/clipperton-extended-by-state-of-monc.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/acid-jazz-cd-reviews/clipperton-extended-by-state-of-monc.html State of Monc’s Clipperton Extended release might be a lot of things to a lot of people and I just might be one of those people. A lot is happening here from a …

State of Monc’s Clipperton Extended release might be a lot of things to a lot of people and I just might be one of those people. A lot is happening here from a melody and tone standpoint on this two-CD set. Generally, it’s a bright explorative album with snap, crackle and pop (mainly showing that snap on Disc Two). Lots of obvious skill burst through radiance and purpose. This is the group’s third release and, unless you’re savvy enough to already be on board with them and make a habit of ordering rather obscure imports, this Dutch ensemble may have escaped the scope of your radar.

While the opening track sort of creeps up on you in a weird rather lackadaisical way, it picks up quickly and has a way of holding you captive in anticipation of what you hope will follow. Lots of power, rhythm and sensation are what follow. To dub this as "dance jazz" or acid jazz wouldn’t be far off the mark, barring a few tunes. There’s even a bit of genuine funkiness to some of the music. The one thing I’ve come to discover is that the power of funk does have a way of travelling across defined but porous boundaries and walls, doesn’t it?

There’s a lot to admire here. Tunes like the very melodic "Big" and "Field X" are smooth, alluring, and well-conceived. There are carefully defined, thick bass lines, bright and cool horns, and thunderous and supportive backbeats. As I briefly alluded to above, there are a few cuts that I wouldn’t consider as dance tunes, however, like "Above Ground," which takes one down quite a different path with its tinkering with chords and trumpet runs. The melody leaves a bit to be desired and is unfortunately a bit bland for me. "Mindbeamer," a tune that focuses more on the intricacies of rhythm and scale work is another example of the non-dance numbers. However, it’s still quite the impressive piece. The dance theme returns with fervor on "Soyuz One," a bottom-heavy and very high-powered tune featuring very effective horn work. The rhythm slips a bit again with the short tune "Date Line" and the scaly, more traditional yet contemporary "The Hitman."

Disc Two, the better of the two discs in my opinion, is mostly, with the exception of one untitled tune, a clever collection of interesting remixes of the tunes on Disc One, mostly rap. Maybe this floats your boat, maybe not. A bit harsh in spots but still quite rhythmic. I do especially like what they did with the remix for "Date Line," a tune I didn’t particularly like on Disc One but one that is not only remixed but entirely revamped on Disc Two. Just my flavor, as is the remix of "Soyuz One," where the funk runs strongly and rampantly and alongside the dance vibe. Give the drummer big props here! This is DANCE JAZZ in all caps. The finale is a mighty and funky remix of the title track. Really sizzling stuff.

State of Monc is obviously in touch, for the most part, with jazz as it exists today, especially here in the States. They’re really worth the listen more than once.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Ronald Jackson) Acid Jazz - CD Reviews Sun, 22 Jul 2007 13:00:00 -0500