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Skerik: Concept is All Anyone Cares About

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Seattle-born saxophonist Skerik--née Eric Walton--isn't a jazz musician. Or at least, he wouldn't say he is, because no contemporary instrumentalist is more indifferent to--even contemptuous of--musical boundaries and genres. His early years in Seattle were deeply jazz-informed (his father was a jazz fan), but he was playing in rock groups at the same time he was involved in his school's jazz ensembles, and was as inspired by Bobby Keyes' tenor work on Rolling Stones records and Dick Parry's sax breaks on Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon as he was by the playing of John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins or ...

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Groovin in the Summer of Oh Six

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We all do it. Some of us do it with a bit of a bounce, while others sort of coolly glide, feet barely touching down. But everyone grooves, and everyone has music that just get 'em to grooving. Here are some different ways to get your groove on for the summer of 2006.

Lou Rawls The Best of the Capitol Jazz & Blues Sessions Capitol Jazz 2006

This twenty-song anthology delivers the definitive overview of Lou Rawls' vocal accomplishments before his late-1970s run with Gamble & Huff for Philly International records popped ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Skeriks Syncopated Taint Septet: Husky

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Skerik's Syncopated Taint Septet is unusual in several ways. First, there's the leader, a tenor saxophonist who goes only by his surname and who also performs in such genteel ensembles as The Dead Kenny Gs and Crack Sabbath. There's that band name, which Skerik copped from the “syncopated taint phrase first used by the US's first “drug czar (Harry J. Anslinger) to describe the moral decay apparently caused by the nation's simultaneous discoveries of jazz music and marijuana in the 1930s and '40s.

Then there's the composition of the septet, which features five lead horns but no guitarist ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Skerik's Syncopated Taint Septet: Husky

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The select few who actually recognize Skerik's singular name will probably remember the saxophonist's recent wild and wacky adventures with Charlie Hunter, Wayne Horvitz and Bobby Previte with some nostalgia. The combination of skronk, groove and interjection he has laid down with these alternative proto-jazz icons seems to have crystallized over time, almost as much as it has simultaneously mutated in the process. This is the second Syncopated Taint Septet release after the group's 2003 self-titled debut on Ropeadope.

To the extent you'll ever be able to pin Skerik down, Husky is a wonderful snapshot of the cheeky rule-breaker (plus ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Skerik's Syncopated Taint Septet: Husky

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Tenor saxman Skerik is such an irrepressible personality on his horn, and such a joyously human presence in groups like Critters Buggin', Garage à Trois and Bobby Previte's Coalition of the Willing, that it's sometimes easy to underestimate him and think of his talents as more instinctive and spontaneous than analytic or accomplished. The wryness of his overall musical presentation and the fact that he's usually featured in groove-oriented settings may have also encouraged some listeners to view him as a sort of jazz Ron Wood: unerringly musical, but not exactly deep.Besides, he's got a funny name. And ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Skeriks Syncopated Taint Septet: Husky

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Harry J. Anslinger, the United States' original Drug Czar, invented an unusual term to sum up what he considered as the moral decay caused by the collision of the jazz and drug cultures in the 1930s and 1940s: “syncopated taint."

Popular tenor sax phenom Skerik--fresh off of a 2005 tour with Mike Clark's Headhunters--adopted the name for his septet, whose new album Husky further cements the leader's reputation as one of the heavy hitters of the post bop/trip-hop movement.

Recorded in Los Angeles in the span of just one day, Husky serves not as a showcase ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Skerik: Skerik's Syncopated Taint Septet

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Is there such a phenomenon as the 'Seattle sound?' Not the Puget Sound, as in water, I mean a distinct regional musical flavor. All those 1980s flannel shirt proto-punk bands thought so. Maybe when it comes to jazz, the Seattle sound is more about an attitude, and maybe irreverence.

Enter saxophonist Skerik's Syncopated Taint Septet. Commissioner Harry Anslinger, the head of the 1930 through 1960 version of the DEA, described jazz as a 'syncopated taint' or a moral contamination. Skerik's adoption of Anslinger's term makes STS come full circle on “jazz," as “jass" (or jassing). But that is ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Skerik: Syncopated Taint Septet

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Lots of people talk about dirty funk, but few of them know. Usually they mean the New Orleans variety, swamp funk that leaves silty mud between your toes. Sometimes the Philadelphia kind, all sweat, grease, and dust. But Seattle funk is a different thing entirely--it's all about throwing clods of rooty sod around, playing catch with earthen pieces of the rainforest.

Seattle saxophonist Skerik (no second name) chose a five horn front line for his Syncopated Taint Septet, which means a lot of voices stand out in front here. They work together through their share of arranged parts, ...



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