Tom Chang: Tongue and Groove (2014)

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Tom Chang: Tongue and Groove
When did the ultimate compliment for a jazz performance switch from "you swing, cat" to "you rock, dude"? Perhaps it happened after a generation of jazz artists raised on rock-n-roll found their way into improvisation and the latitudes of expression that jazz enable. Case in point is Tongue And Groove by guitarist Tom Chang.

Raised on the music of Jeff Beck
Jeff Beck
Jeff Beck
b.1944
guitar
, Jimi Hendrix, and Jimmy Page, his soul was imprinted with their spirit as he applied his guitar sound to the jazz world. Together with saxophonists Greg Ward
Greg Ward
Greg Ward

saxophone
(Living By Lanterns, Mike Reed
Mike Reed
Mike Reed

drums
) and Jason Rigby
Jason Rigby
Jason Rigby
b.1974
sax, tenor
(Kris Davis Group, Eivind Opsvik's Overseas), bassist Chris Lightcap
Chris Lightcap
Chris Lightcap
b.1971
bass
(Regina Carter
Regina Carter
Regina Carter
b.1966
violin
, Matt Wilson
Matt Wilson
Matt Wilson
b.1964
drums
, Anthony Braxton
Anthony Braxton
Anthony Braxton
b.1945
reeds
), and drummer Gerald Cleaver (Ivo Perelman
Ivo Perelman
Ivo Perelman
b.1961
saxophone
, Craig Taborn
Craig Taborn
Craig Taborn
b.1970
keyboard
) the guitarist infuses metal bits into his jazz banquet. "Spinal Tap / Goes to 11" is a take-off on the movie spoof that serves from a head-banging trough. Begging, as the title indicates, to be turned up to 11. The track, reprised again at the end of the disc, is anything but obtuse. Like David Fiuczynski
David Fiuczynski
David Fiuczynski
b.1964
guitar
or John Scofield
John Scofield
John Scofield
b.1951
guitar
, he communicates jazz with a rock accent. There is a bleed through of Led Zeppelin heard on "Bar Codes." But also heard is the influence of Bill Frisell
Bill Frisell
Bill Frisell
b.1951
guitar
and Jim Hall
Jim Hall
Jim Hall
1930 - 2013
guitar
.

Chang understands jazz is an amalgamation process. The blues are referenced here, and bit of funk show up on "Scatterbrain." He has inherited the universal rhythms of Rudresh Mahanthappa
Rudresh Mahanthappa
Rudresh Mahanthappa
b.1971
sax, alto
's music, employing South Indian percussive vocalist Subash Chandran on the title track. The music shifts from the East to Anton Webern with "Variations for Piano Op. 27," to accent his jazz band's ability to solve the complexity of classical music in the manner of a Steve Coleman
Steve Coleman
Steve Coleman
b.1956
saxophone
M-BASE composition. Chang's mix is whip-smart and perceptive.

Track Listing: Spinal Tap / Goes to 11; Djangolongo; Variations for Piano Op. 27; Sleepwalker; Tongue & Groove; Scatterbrain; Bar Codes; The Logos; Entangoed Heart; Spinal Tap (Tk. 2).

Personnel: Tom Chang: guitar; Greg Ward: alto saxophone; Jason Rigby: tenor saxophone; Chris Lightcap: bass; Gerald Cleaver: drums; Akshay Anatapadmanabhan: kanjira, mrindigam; Subash Chandran: konnakol.

Record Label: Self Produced


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