The quartet's brief and intense tribute to D'Angelo, "Andrew's Ditty Variation One," begins with a two-horn lockstep sprint that quickly evolves into a time-shifting squawk-fest. With Black bashing out a barrage of beats, the two horns mimic D'Angelo's infamous raging sound that is often performed onstage, wriggling on his back.
But the disc is not at all about camp. The quartet draws together its many influences, from Eastern European to alt-rock, to push the boundaries of performance jazz. Speed is credited with the writing here, but he draws not only from his writing with The Clarinets and Human Feel, but his work in Black's Alas No Axis and drummer John Hollenbeck
-style unison horns around Black's frenetic drumming. This recording's purpose becomes clear, however, on tracks like "Uri Bird," which melds funk and bebop, or "Iris," a New Orleans blues outfitted with an old-school sawed bass and parading horns.
Endangered Blood signals a sort of watershed in the evolution of creative music that was once called jazz. The dust has cleared, and what's left is an idiosyncratic and very entertaining sound.
Track Listing: Plunge; Rare; Epistrophy; Elvin Lisbon; K; Tacos At Oscars; Iris; Uri Bird;
Valva; Andrew's Ditty Variation One.
Personnel: Jim Black: drums; Trevor Dunn: bass; Oscar Noriega: alto saxophone,
bass clarinet; Chris Speed: tenor saxophone.