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Ted Sirota's Rebel Souls: Seize The Time (2009)

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Ted Sirota's Rebel Souls: Seize The Time How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

To call this Rebel Souls disc ambitious is not an overstatement, and to label drummer Ted Sirota and company bold, does not unnecessarily over-dramatize their mission. Seize The Time is the band's fifth disc, of which three prior releases were also on UK's NAIM—Rebel Roots (1996), Propaganda (1999) and Vs. The Forces Of Evil (2000)—preceding the US-released Breeding Resistance (Delmark, 2004).

Not one to hold his tongue, Sirota, like all great agitators, lets his voice be heard through his art. Here he pays tribute to musicians that have inspired him, from Charles Mingus

Charles Mingus
Charles Mingus
1922 - 1979
bass, acoustic
, to Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Joe Strummer, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti
Fela Anikulapo-Kuti
Fela Anikulapo-Kuti
1938 - 1997
composer/conductor
, Caetano Veloso
Caetano Veloso
Caetano Veloso
- 1942
guitar
, and Miriam Makeba
Miriam Makeba
Miriam Makeba
1932 - 2008
vocalist
. Utilizing both cover music and inspired new compositions, the point is made. Protest music is soul music, reggae, and certainly jazz.

The lineup of the Rebel Souls has changed over the years. Past members have included Jeff Parker

Jeff Parker
Jeff Parker

guitar
, Rob Mazurek
Rob Mazurek
Rob Mazurek
b.1965
cornet
, Noel Kupersmith, and Jeb Bishop. The current roster contains musicians to keep an eye on, as the music is both top rate and engaging.

The disc opens with The Clash's "Clampdown." But not the "let fury have the hour, anger can be power" oppressive Strummer sound. Guitarist Dave Miller's arrangements takes more of a lyrical approach, layering the music into a grand gesture, but retaining all the passion of the original rock anthem.

Certainly the jazz perspective here is an outsider's slant and there is no need to shout the protest from the rooftops. Jazz has always been the hippest way to make a point. The band swings a straight jazz cover on Mingus' "Free Cell Block F, 'Tis Nazi U.S.A.," and invokes a reggae/dub echo for Sirota's "Killa Dilla." The drummer even takes a few minutes to lay down a Max Roach

Max Roach
Max Roach
1925 - 2007
drums
tribute drum solo on "Viva Max!," with Roach's familiar, euphonious and muscular sound.

The disc traverses multiple styles, continents and languages. Brazilian guitarist Caetano Veloso

Caetano Veloso
Caetano Veloso
- 1942
guitar
's "13 De Maio" opens with percussion and hand-claps, later there is the traditional American sound of Stephen Foster's "Hard Times" and the Ornette Coleman
Ornette Coleman
Ornette Coleman
b.1930
sax, alto
-inspired ""J.Y.D.," and then it's off to South Africa for Miriam Makeba
Miriam Makeba
Miriam Makeba
1932 - 2008
vocalist
's "Polo Mze."

The highlight of the disc might, however, be Miller's simple prayer, "Tollway." Here, Geof Bradfield

Geof Bradfield
Geof Bradfield
b.1970
saxophone
's bass clarinet oozes in and around the guitarist and Jake Vinsel's walking bass, making for a slow burning poem.

We can be certain it is a protest poem.


Track Listing: Clampdown; 13 De Maio; Free Cell Block F, 'Tis Nazi U.S.A.; Hard Times (Come Again No More); Killa Dilla; Tollway; Viva Max! (Improvised Drums Solo); J.Y.D.; Polo MZE Pt. 1; Polo MZE Pt. 2; Little D; The Keys To Freedom.

Personnel: Geof Bradfield: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet; Greg Ward: alto saxophone; Dave Miller: guitar; Jake Vinsel: acoustic bass, electric bass; Ted Sirota: drums.

Record Label: Naim Label

Style: Modern Jazz


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