Kingcake: Kingcake

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No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

What a combination! Tuba, alto saxophone and percussion. The trio adds harmonica on five tracks for a wider scope, but the impression is a lasting one: three outcats swinging on a star and creating aural landscapes. Tunes dedicated to people, places and great ideas leave no doubt when the music swings.

Similar in aim to the AACM, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, and Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy, Kingcake plays free and loose. They interact with considerable cohesion; like longtime friends who know each other’s moves. Free improvisation can easily become dry and lifeless without the swing. Scot Ray lays down a New Orleans strut step, Brad Dutz fills that in with congas and various toe-tapping devices, while Matt Zebley weaves lyrical melodies. Bill Barrett’s blues harp lends a comfortable air to the session with vocal-like expression and a laid-back ease. Full of life and rooted in the New Orleans tradition, Kingcake finds a way to tie together the beginning and end of our first jazz century. Traditional tunes "Ja Da" and "A Closer Walk With Thee" ring familiar. A loose bass drum, light drum sticks on a modest kit, doubled octaves from clarinet and tuba swing "up a lazy river" and back down to the source of jazz.

Highly recommended, this one may be tough to find. Fortunately, Zebley can be contacted via the ‘net. His email is mzink@discover.net , and his web page is http://mattzebley.com/welcome.html .

Track Listing: Volkswagon; Bison Will Graze; Pinball Wizard; The Elusive Moment; Lucky Dip; Monkjunk; Dolphy; Chunk; Theodore Hawkins; Teeth; Zinke

Personnel: Matt Zebley- alto saxophone, bass clarinet, alto clarinet, soprano clarinet; Scot Ray- tuba; Brad Dutz- vibraphone, marimba, hand drums, percussion; Bill Barrett- chromatic harmonica.

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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