84

Todd Clouser's A Love Electric: 20th Century Folk Selections

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
More than rock musicians and more than blues artists, jazz musicians carry the greatest burden of musical legacy. There are not stories about a contemporary rock musician who dedicates his career to mastering The Beatles catalog, or of the one who's playing is paralyzed because she cannot deal with Jimi Hendrix's solos. Nope. Only in jazz does the legacy of the past pose obstacles so large as Art Tatum, Charlie Parker, and John Coltrane that many contemporary musicians can never scale the mountain and forge their own paths. Some say that happened when jazz stopped being our music and became art music.

Guitarist Todd Clouser hopes to reverse all of that thinking with A Love Electric, a band that is rediscovering rock, funk, and pop as jazz music, and most importantly, jazz as folk music. This disc follows A Love Electric (Rope-A-Dope, 2010) with a celebration of "The Peoples'" music. Where his previous disc only had one cover, Harry Nilsson's "One" (made famous by Three Dog Night), here all the tracks are covers. On this first disc of a three-part series of folkloric music, the music is exactly what jazz once was. Remember when songs from Tin Pan Alley and Broadway were mined to serve as a launch pad for jazz?

Their modern launch takes in Pearl Jam's "Release," Nirvana's "All Apologies," and the Beastie Boys' "Gratitude." The key to Clouser's success is the lack of campiness. Lou Reed's mini-masterpiece "Heroin," written for Velvet Underground, is delivered with the crazed crescendo of the original; Adam Meckler's trumpet gives voice to Clouser's guitar. As with most instrumental jazz, that voice is a soloist. Clouser invites fellow band leader and trumpeter Steven Bernstein to sit in on Buddy Holly's "Everyday." They lay out a relaxed cover that smooths the rockabilly into something closer to surfer music. Not so with Neil Young's "The Needle & The Damage Done." Clouser maintains the sorrow of addiction here, much like the early work of Bill Frisell.

Clouser's music reinvests jazz in the traditions of modern folk music, and it is about time.

Track Listing: Little Boxes; Everyday; The Needle & The Damage Done; Pay Me My Money Down; All Apologies; Heroin; Gratitude; Release.

Personnel: Todd Clouser: guitars, Rhodes piano; Mark Aanderud: piano; Aaron Crus: bass; Hernan Hecht: drums; Adam Mackler: trumpet; Bryan Nichols: Rhodes piano; Rick Parker: trombone; Cyro Baptista; percussion; Steven Bernstein: trumpet (2); Greg Schute: percussion (6).

Title: 20th Century Folk Selections | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Royal Potato Family

Tags

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Blencathra
Blencathra
By Jack Bowers
Read So Many Stars
So Many Stars
By C. Michael Bailey
Read Knots
Knots
By Glenn Astarita
Read Peaceful
Peaceful
By Mark Sullivan
Read Live in Nuremberg
Live in Nuremberg
By Hrayr Attarian
Read Diversity
Diversity
By Ian Patterson
Read Waves
Waves
By Don Phipps