Musings on Jazz, Blues and the Sabbath

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One barely knows where to begin with "Codeína,"seven minutes that the band describes as "a Latin-bolero meets 1960s Egyptian-classical." Even a quote that colorful doesn't do justice to the ancient yet digital feel of this atmospheric closer, especially while bassist Edward Prendergast slips an icy-cool bolero into its rhythms and the band adorns the arrangement in Arabic percussion and strings. "Codeína" provides one more brilliant example of Bio Ritmo's gift for contemporizing the salsa tradition with bits of other musical traditions and more progressive songwriting and production.

Bio Ritmo produced their 2006 release Salsa System with Jon Fausty, engineer from the legendary Latin label Fania Records, an experience that Alvarez describes as "like going to salsa boot camp." "Puerta del Sur really shows the evolution of Bio Ritmo," says Fausty. "It's the best yet."

Dinner Doombalaya
Doombalaya
Doombalaya
b.2004
composer/conductor

Dinner
Self Produced
2014

Doombalaya—"Jambalaya" with "Doom" in place of "Jam"—grew out of 2009/2010 jam sessions among Tulane University (Louisiana) jazz student. Since then, they've become deeply integrated with New Orleans' musicians and musical scene, playing in clubs uptown and downtown. "Doombalaya is a New Orleans Jazz/Afrobeat/Rock band that tries to push the limits of what we can do. We all have a deep love for music that's out and music that's in," explains composer and keyboardist Ethan Mitchel Stern
Ethan Mitchel Stern
Ethan Mitchel Stern
b.1991
piano
. "We're a band full of Frank Zappa
Frank Zappa
Frank Zappa
1940 - 1993
guitar, electric
/Pharoah Sanders
Pharoah Sanders
Pharoah Sanders
b.1940
saxophone
/Art Tatum
Art Tatum
Art Tatum
1909 - 1956
piano
/Peter King
Peter King
Peter King
b.1940
/Paul Simon
Paul Simon
Paul Simon
b.1941
composer/conductor
fans that are developing our own sound."

Their first full-length release, the self-produced Dinner captures every aspect of Doombalaya's adventurous (sometimes even playful) spirit with colorful originals and cover versions from Guiseppe Verdi to Black Sabbath to the music of SuperMario® all rendered in firebrand and freewheeling jam.

You can tell that Doombalaya can jump and party from the opening "Gio Rio," its bass and drums burping out a staccato rhythm that the horns pick up and roast like the bebop classic "Salt Peanuts" strapped onto a rocket then blasted off to Mars. "Intra-Knot" weaves a more relaxed tempo with electric guitar and keyboards alternately constructing and deconstructing its circular, progressive rock hook. "Moonlight Epic" stretches into more traditional verse/chorus song structure with the band building ripples of progressive electric jazz-rock and Motown soul into waves of rhythm surrounding New Orleans vocalist Abby Diamond.

Dinner also serves more exotic fare. Crescent City horns romp through this colorful "Super Mario® Medley," music from and inspired by the videogame series that sometimes chuckles, sometimes laughs out aloud, with the iconoclastic yet humorous spirit of The Mothers of Invention. But even this won't prepare you for the bacon that Doombalaya makes out of "War Pigs," a foundational slab of molten heavy metal from Black Sabbath's landmark 1970 release Paranoid (Warner Bros.) expertly rearranged for their rollicking New Orleans style. Unison (and not so unison) horns burn hot and sinister through the opening free-for-all, and drummer Jason Winikoff thoroughly nails down Bill Ward's original thunder—including and especially Ward's beat-crunching entrance. Nine minutes gives every Doombalaya soloist a chance to shine in this genuine reinvention, always more easily said than done, of this iconic song.

Their rearrangement rocks Guiseppe Verdi's "Va, Pensiero" across a melancholy two-step, one more shining example of Doombalaya's innovative approach and versatility and the sweet final course of this tasty Dinner.

Doomjazz Giganticus Free Nelson Mandoomjazz
The Shape of Doomjazz to Come / Saxophone Giganticus
Rare Noise
2014

Free Nelson Mandoomjazz is one hellacious trio led by Rebecca Sneddon on alto saxophone with bassist Colin Stewart and a bone-crunching drummer credited only as Archibald, and herewith explodes onto the global music scene with a single-disc that pairs their EPsThe Shape of Doomjazz to Come and Saxophone Giganticus.

From their base in Edinburgh (Scotland), Free Nelson Mandoomjazz proves equally versed in the heaviest of heavy metal (including and especially Black Sabbath) and the most free of free jazz (including and especially saxophonists Albert Ayler
Albert Ayler
Albert Ayler
1936 - 1970
sax, tenor
and Ornette Coleman
Ornette Coleman
Ornette Coleman
b.1930
sax, alto
). Each EP obviously nods with a wink toward pillars of the modern jazz cannon—Coleman's The Shape of Jazz to Come (1959, Atlantic) and Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins
b.1930
saxophone
' Saxophone Colossus (1956, Prestige)—while the band's name is at least partial tribute to South African freedom fighter Nelson Mandela. But other points of reference for Doomjazz/Giganticus aren't as easy to find.


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