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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Herculaneum: Herculaneum III

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In some respects what we have here is music that's a step on from Jimmy Giuffre's work in the 1950s, but if it's the chamber music notion that unites the two bodies of work across the intervening half-century, it's clear that this band marches to a rhythmically more vigorous aesthetic. The music is at times alive with a kind of tensile energy that similarly invalidates the Giuffre comparison, but what unites the two is a sense of exploration, of goals ill-defined and thus made all the more worthy of pursuit.

As much as anywhere else, this comes across on “Prosecco/mcv," ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Herculaneum: Orange Blossom

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The excellence that marks 482 Music's Document Chicago series carries on with this twelfth release. As before, the series serves to showcase the diverse talent that marks the improvised jazz scene in Chicago; Herculaneum brings in its own influences, which it shapes into an earthy, heated and prolifically inspired voice in constant shift.

The band, which was formed in 2002, adopts an avant-garde approach but also has the sensibility of Romany Gypsy brass bands. That's one for the ages, but the amalgam works well particularly with this group's well-defined approach to modernity and a host of ideas.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Herculaneum: Orange Blossom

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One of the questions that always seem to be raised about original compositions addresses the issue of whether or not they hold the promise of longevity. It's a question that seems especially pertinent here.

Drummer Dylan Ryan has come up with a programme of compositions here which, while they might lack something from the melodic point of view--there are certainly no obvious hooks--show a depth of character that puts them well beyond the time-honoured line for blowing on that might once have been a hallmark. This is most evident on “Cry Of The Locusts," where a mood of unsettled languor ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Herculaneum: Orange Blossom

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Herculaneum is both the sister city to Pompeii, also destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, and a blazingly original modernist quintet with capable chops and ample ideas. The brainchild of drummer Dylan Ryan, the group's resident composer, Herculaneum is a rare entity: a new group that seemingly arrives from nowhere, fully formed with its own sound. Although Orange Blossom is Herculaneum's second album, following an eponymous 2004 debut, it is likely the first one most people will hear.

As the principal composer, Ryan has an uncanny knack for writing melodic hooks. With a piano-less rhythm section and ...



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