The title, Dank Side Of The Morn
may very well be a parody of Pink Floyd’s billion seller rock classic “Dark Side Of The Moon” as keyboardist-composer Graham Connah displays his boyish sense of frolic as he often infuses satire into many of his projects. Here, Connah’s “Sour Note Seven” ensemble along with some estimable Bay-area guest artists go genre hopping or cross many boundaries which makes this recording difficult to classify. Here, they call themselves, “Jettison Slinky” which coincides with the playful attitude conveyed throughout, yet don’t let that fool you, this band speaks volumes as Connah once again illustrates his sharp and altogether clever penmanship as a serious and often complex composer-performer.
At times Connah and co. conjure up memories of the wonderful and thoroughly intriguing British Canterbury progressive rock scene of the 1970’s and early 1980’s on the gorgeous piece titled, “Door Ajar”. Here, Connah captures that bygone era of progressive rock featuring the angelic choir like vocals of Nancy Clarke and Jewlia Esienberg atop the dazzling electric guitar work of Alex Candelaria along with the crafty modern jazz horn charts. Glimpses of the legendary Canterbury art-rock-free jazz band Henry Cow come to mind on the piece titled, “Sparkly” as the band purvey difficult yet sensible time signatures, lush flute work by Noel Jewkes and a cool horn arrangement. Bay area style psychedelics surface on “Atop The Bloat Cushion/Reprise” as Connah utilizes some juicy analog synthesizer sounds while radiant vocal harmonies, punchy horn charts along with – crash and burn – guitar work from the talented Alex Candelaria all equate to impact and melodrama. The saga continues, with a twist on “After The Belphegor” which is a 70’s style jam session. “Sprinkly” features cheerful horns, progressive rock stylizations, fluctuating tempi, linear progressions and some “good-natured” pathos from the renowned jazz clarinetist Ben Goldberg. On this piece, Goldberg’s clarinet solo provides tonal contrast and engaging lyricism, which underscores the often kaleidoscopic and bouncy arrangement. “Circles Around” features booming horns and a hard driving – blitzkrieg- electric guitar performance by Candelaria.......
Graham Connah continues to astonish and mystify his devout audience on each subsequent release. Serious minded compositions, which harbor his flair for wit, melody and overall sense of enjoyment, pay huge dividends for the listener. “Jettison Slinky” not only rekindle memories of the “best of” progressive jazz-rock yet stand on their own in prominent fashion. Dank Side Of The Morn is undeniably unique and among the finest recordings of 1999.
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