Saxophonist Seamus Blake asks the musical question: why can’t jazz musicians be rock stars too? His band Bloomdaddies delivers the answer: The square root of pi cannot be written with much certainty.
In other words, rocks stars are rock stars because of the swagger factor, not (in most cases) musicianship. The Bloomdaddies have plenty of swank AND the musical credentials to back up their braggadocio.
Saxophonists Seamus Blake and Chris Cheek both have impressive discographies. Cheek having recorded with Paul Motian’s Electric Bebop Band and Blake with Victor Lewis, Kevin Hays and The Mingus Big Bad. This past year Seamus Blake won the prestigious Thelonious Monk saxophone competition, the same one that launched the career of Joshua Redman. But Blake, like Cheek seems to be moving away from a career based in the culture of traditional jazz. The Bloomdaddies (Blake, bassist Jesse Murphy, and drummer Jorge Rossy) began in 1993 as an acoustic trio. They later added Cheek and a second and third drummer Dan Rieser and Tony Mason.
Mosh For Lovers follows up their 1996 self-titled disc for Criss Cross. That first record set the tone for where the Daddies are coming from. Covering “Sing, Sing, Sing” one can span the decades from the swing era till the 21st century with the cliché image of parents being shocked!, shocked! by this dangerous music.
This latest effort takes the posturing even further with well, more attitude. Loaded with effects, pitch shifters, reverb, flangers, and wah-wah pedals the music starts at late Zappa and passes through Parliament-Funkadelic, psychedelic, funk, electric boogie, hip-hop, and pop. The band takes a stab at a radio play with “In The Ground.” Bassist Jesse Murphy’s vocals could pass for a mellow Peter Gabriel.
Mostly this record is about stretching the possibilities of bar band jazz. Reclaiming the music from the suit-and-tie scene for sweaty dancing music. Their “One Note Mosh” revives the punk rockabilly sound and “Moosenstein” culls the wah-wah of a blaxploitation film.
Bloomdaddies are a part of a growing faction that says jazz can be fun sticky music once again. Their bravado is real as any rock band, and they can play.
Personnel: Seamus Blake – Tenor Saxophone; Chris Cheek – Tenor Saxophone; Jesse Murphy – Bass, Vocals; Tony Mason - Drums; Dan Rieser - Drums; Jorge Rossy - Drums.