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Endangered Blood: Endangered Blood (2011)

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Endangered Blood: Endangered Blood How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Endangered Blood formed in 2008, to play a benefit concert to help pay for fellow musician Andrew D'Angelo's medical bills. For the performance, drummer Jim Black
Jim Black
Jim Black

drums
and bassist Trevor Dunn—two of the saxophonist's band mates—enlisted saxophonists Chris Speed
Chris Speed
Chris Speed

saxophone
and Oscar Noriega. As happens so often in modern groups, familiar players in different combination produce compelling results.

Black and Speed are both veterans of Tim Berne
Tim Berne
Tim Berne
b.1954
saxophone
's vanguard band, Bloodcount, as well as Human Feel, Pachora, Yeah No and Alas No Axis. Dunn has been a member of Mr. Bungle and bands led by John Zorn
John Zorn
John Zorn
b.1953
sax, alto
, while Noriega is one of Berne's latest finds, and a longtime collaborator with Satoko Fujii
Satoko Fujii
Satoko Fujii
b.1958
piano
.

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
John Hollenbeck
John Hollenbeck
b.1968
drums
's The Claudia Quintet.

With Noriega doubling on bass clarinet, Speed is able to enlarge the sound on "Rare," and present Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
1917 - 1982
piano
's "Epistrophy" with a much darker tone, as if played by men in over-sized wool coats lifting heavy objects. "Tacos At Oscars" swirls some Philip Glass
Philip Glass
Philip Glass
b.1937
composer/conductor
-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.

Record Label: Skirl Records


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