|This is an 2-disc SACD-Hybrid and will play in all SACD and standard CD players.
Recorded live in the studio at the 2006 Atlantic Jazz Festival, this 2-for-1 double SACD documents a great improvising power quartet stretching out for two nights on 7 band originals and a James Brown cover. Slide wizard Tronzo is amazing as always, but virtuosity isn’t the point. At times Tronzo and Kögel sound like one super-guitar; Jerry’s lucid, composerly drumming weaves it all together. Stylistically the music ranges from a slow blues to spacey ambient/improv/freeform roots’n’blues-cum-chamber jazz. Avant-jamband?
Dynamic, textured audiophile sound.
“...the set is fascinating for exactly seventeen reasons, only a few of which I have room to mention here.
“Reason One: This is a great experimental music band playing at a very high level. Jay Granelli is a bass player of great subtlety—his post-rock/ambient/jazz project called Mr. Lucky made a great record last year called Homing—and provides the perfect grounding for the explorations of the others. His father manages to provide a time-keeping role while still functioning as a lead instrument on some numbers; on disc one’s “Riddim”, he keeps up a beat that can be described as both “rollicking” and “muted,” and the others just let him go with it for a while, dropping in and out as they see fit.
“But the Granellis are Buddhist enough to be able to cede the limelight to the two guitarists most of the time. Tronzo, on electric slide, and Kögel, on regular electric guitar, are both simultaneously soloing on a lot of tracks, but they are somehow perfectly attuned to each other’s work. At the beginning of disc two’s “Farewell”, they are both playing the same woozy (and Ornette Coleman-derived?) melody, but in completely different ways; they slip and slide back and forth in time, psychically expanding on phrases thrown out by the other while still following their own paths. It’s inspiring, and all the more impressive considering that it’s all done live with no overdubs.
“Reason Two: This package has a lot to teach about the nature of improvisation. These discs were recorded on two successive nights at the Sonic Temple in Halifax, and each one features the same seven songs, in the same order. This gives listeners a few different listening options; one can listen to each set all the way through, or burn the tracks onto a portable listening device and compare the way the songs are approached....”
“Reason Three: This so-called “jazz” rocks pretty hard. This shouldn’t surprise us, considering the band has two—count-’em, two!—masterful guitarists wailing away—but now that post-rock has died again, it’s still kind of shocking that four people can care so little about genre labels. ‘Immeasurable’ is probably jazz, given its structure, but it’s also very menacing and rocky and awesome. ‘The Old Neighbourhood’, the longest track on both discs, rides a few different world-music-ish grooves, including stuff that sounds like African jive, reggae, Balkan polka, and good old-fashioned early-Santana/Tony Williams Lifetime jam. But this has nothing whatsoever to do with Phish or any tedious neo-hippie action. This is precision, this is punch, this is real exploratory music that cannot really be held down by anything. It is free, but it ain’t free jazz. It is just freed of all our bourgeois expectations.
“Best jazz album of the year so far...” (Matt Cibula)