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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Eddie Skuller: Somebody's Fool

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It didn't take a lot of rocket science to unravel the meaning of Somebody's Fool. The opening tracks are the Etta Jones-associated hit “Don't Go To Strangers," the traditional “Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child" and George Harrison's “Give Me Love," all done in a stripped-down ballad presentation. Eddie Skuller's voice hovers somewhere between the ionosphere and the microphone, revealing an obvious affinity for the vocal stylings of Jimmy Scott (aka Little Jimmy Scott).

As concerns the album title, one of Scott's signature songs is “Everybody's Somebody's Fool," a vintage favorite of the 1940s and '50s R&B scene composed ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Skull Session: Rise Above

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The appropriately named Skull Session burns with the passion of a great jazz band. Leader/guitarist Jeff Plotz writes loose, gritty tunes that break wide open. The scent of Ornette lingers at times, but this quintet plays it a way all its own. His use of improvised melodic invention, rather than shock and noise, has Plotz superficially resembling Joe Morris on his first instrument. Ironically, Morris handles the bass chores, resisting timekeeping for time traveling. With drummer Luther Gray handling several times simultaneously, the rhythm section frequently outdistances the front line. More chair-swapping occurs as bassist Timo Shanko wails a strident ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Skull Session: Rise Above

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Do punk and free jazz cross paths? There are some who would argue unquestionably yes. Guitarist Nels Cline, for example, often combines a raw unschooled edge and sense of reckless abandon with a far more developed harmonic sensibility. So, too, does guitarist Jeff Platz, whose background in the late '70s in Cleveland, Ohio was with a variety of punk bands. But even as he pursued a more combative rock style, his attention turned more and more towards free jazz and improvised music, where a similarly aggressive capability existed, albeit on a broader palette. And so we find ourselves with Skull ...



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