Sunday, June 06, 2010

A bunch more good jazz (or whatevah) records

Back to the Clean Feed stack...

Dutch cornetist Eric Boeren's Song for Tracy the Turtle - Live at Jazz Brugge 2004 is a disc that fairly wallows in its Ornettitude, and that's a good thing. You have to go back to Old and New Dreams to find a band as imbued with the spirit of the pre-Dancing In Your Head Coleman units as Boeren's 4tet. Not only do they cover four, count 'em, _four_ classic-but-not-overdone O.C. compositions ("Mr. and Mrs. People," "Free," "Moon Inhabitants," and "The Legend of Bebop"), they also essay Ornettish originals, replete with hummable, bluesy unison heads, like "A Fuzzphony" and "Soft Nose." Boeren individuates most when he blows a muted horn, while Michael Moore shines on both alto and Eb clarinet. Departures include the amorphously open-ended title track (which kicks off the set), and the lovely laments "Memo" and "Memories of You" (the latter a Eubie Blake composition, of all things). I'll also admit to being a sucker for CDs with pictures of turtles on the cover, especially when executed as exquisitely as Clean Feed's sleeves always are.

Perhaps recent listens to Bob Stewart with Arthur Blythe's '70s "tuba band" put me in a receptive mood to hear Evil Things by TGB, a tuba-guitar-drums power trio (I do believe the acronym stands for the Portuguese spellings of the instruments' names). On tuba, Sergio Carolino is an agile soloist; at times, listening to his rides is an experience akin to watching a portly man doing handsprings and cartwheels. Guitarist Mario Delgado is equally splendid on acoustic, electric, dobro, and fretless instruments (dig his taffy-pull long tones on the latter instrument on the curiously bluesy "George Harrison"). His range is represented by the material the trio covers, which ranges from proto-metal (Black Sabbath's "Planet Caravan" and Deep Purple's "The Mule," which serves as a segue out of whirlwind drummer Alexandre Frazao's solo on "Nameloc") to country-jazz (Hank Garland's vehicle "Close Your Eyes" starts out as a tango before erupting into surf-ska frenzy). The program runs the gamut from Gateway Trio-style exploration to Red-era King Crimson menace (there's even a little grindcore Cookie Monster vocalismo from Paulo Ramos on "Aleister Crowley"). A stunning surprise.

Delgado's also a key element on two bassplayer-led sessions. On Labirinto, Dave Hollandesque bassist-composer Carlos Barretto leads a trio, Lokomotiv, with the guitarist and drummer Jose Salgueiro. Delgado explores more tones and textures than the average guitar-slinger would think to in the course of a single session, reinforcing the impression of himself as a European Nels Cline, while the trio reminds you of everything you liked about fusion and ECM back in the '70s. Leader Barretto's arco work is particularly gorgeous. Carlos Bica's Materia Prima opens with the surf-blues of "D.C." -- with a riff straight out of Jimi's "Voodoo Chile" -- before settling into a program of very stylish chamber jazz that includes covers of tunes by Marc Ribot (another discernable influence on Delgado) and Ry Cooder. Bica's own compositions are moody, atmospheric soundscapes that evoke cinematic images, like John Zorn at his best.


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