How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Now here’s a quirky little gem. New Jersey’s Justice On A Budget emerges with their first disc, a bright, enjoyable and unpredictable collection of “spontaneous and experimental tunes”. Track 1 kicks things off quietly on cat’s feet, a simple but catchy groove to be followed by relaxed Rhodes funk, Latin boogie, smoky nightclub bop and a blissfully bizarre reference to “Night In Tunisia” on Track 10. On two tracks the quartet is joined by saxophonist Sigmund Washington, who blats and honks his way through a truly off-kilter theme on Track 4. Keyboardist John Conahan is perhaps the most prominent figure in the mix; his spoken vocal on Track 5 adds an even more surreal aspect to the urban dreamscapes on this disc. Always interesting, never too obtrusive, rarely predictable. (NCM East Records, 219C Marshall Ave., Princeton, NJ 08540; http://www.ncmeast.com)
Track Listing: 1) Sunny Day; 2) New Millennium
Personnel: Ben Diamond, electric guitars; John Conahan, electric pianos, synths, whistles and vocals; Eric Hastings, drums and percussion; Cory Neale, acoustic bass; Sigmund Washington, saxophone.