Amazon.com Widgets

Doctor Magnum: Live at Red Square (2013)

By Published: | 3,656 views
Doctor Magnum: Live at Red Square How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Pianist Robert Glasper
Robert Glasper
Robert Glasper
b.1978
piano
, in the All About Jazz segment "One LP," talked about Slum Village's Fantastic, vol. 2 (Good Vibe, 1999), produced by J Dilla: "J Dilla is probably the only producer I know that changed the way musicians actually play their instruments." Exhibit A is Glasper's own piano playing with both his acoustic and electric groups.

Exhibit B could well be "Debbie Does Dilla (Waltz for Debby)," by the Albany, New York-based quartet Doctor Magnum. Glasper notes how Dilla's production "made people start playing in that hip hop way behind the beat—kind of sloppy hip hop way... you know what I mean." Doctor Magnum's drummer Rob Colpoys creditably provides exactly that sloppy hip hop beat, underlying pianist Bill Evans
Bill Evans
Bill Evans
1929 - 1980
piano
' canonical 3/4 tune. It's just one way in which the group's freely-downloadable two-disc Live at Red Square updates the repertoire and approach to small-band jazz.

Other hip hop references arise, most notably in a fine medley of Madvillain's "ALL CAPS" and Nas' "N.Y. State of Mind," which, in addition to being whimsically funny, also demonstrates that the Nas tune can be played as a kind of modal number. There are other covers—among them Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson
1958 - 2009
vocalist
, Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix
1942 - 1970
guitar, electric
(well, really, the Seeds, because it's "Hey Joe," but their take is pure Hendrix), and best of all, a magnificent version of Frank Ocean's smash 2012 hit "Thinkin' 'Bout You."

The instrumentation is classic rock 'n' roll—two lead guitars, electric bass, drums, and Doctor Magnum can call upon colorful rock 'n' roll effects, like the blast of psychedelia at the end of "Billie Jean," or the general resemblance to the Grateful Dead during some of the extended guitar solos ("Wormholes").

Nevertheless, this is not primarily a rock 'n' roll band. "Debbie Does Dilla" appears to be an important key to understanding what Doctor Magnum wants to be—a hip hop infused band whose members listen to each other the way the classic Evans trio did. And, you know, heard a slightly different way, those Jerry Garcia-like guitar solos unfold discursively the way a Dexter Gordon
Dexter Gordon
Dexter Gordon
1923 - 1990
sax, tenor
tenor saxophone solo might. Indeed, the Doctor Magnum songbook includes funky numbers ("Hello Stink," "Stanley") whose sinuous thematic lines are practically bebop.

Throughout Live at Red Square, Doctor Magnum marshals humor, chops and that "sloppy hip hop beat" to illustrate the enduring relevance and capacity for renewal of small-group interactive improvisation. And that is good news.

Track Listing: CD1: Thinkin' 'Bout You; Hello Stink; Billie Jean; Debby Does Dilla (Waltz for Debby); Upright; ¿Dónde está el retrete?. CD2: The Sign; Stanley; Hey Joe (Roberts); ALL CAPS/N.Y. State of Mind; Wormholes.

Personnel: J. Steele: guitar; Charlie Button: guitar; Boris: bass guitar; Rob Colpoys: drums.

Record Label: Self Produced


comments powered by Disqus
Support All About Jazz Through Amazon

Weekly Giveaways

Mark Elf

Mark Elf

About | Enter

Stefano Bollani

Stefano Bollani

About | Enter

Carmen Lundy

Carmen Lundy

About | Enter

Wadada Leo Smith

Wadada Leo Smith

About | Enter

Sponsor: Nonesuch Records | BUY NOW

Enter it twice.
To the weekly jazz events calendar

Enter the numbers in the graphic
Enter the code in this picture

Log in

One moment, you will be redirected shortly.

or search site with Google