All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

7

People: 3xaWoman: The Misplaced Files

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
3xaWoman is the third genre-defying album from the avant-rock band People and the group's very first recording as a trio for the Telegraph Harp imprint. Originally founded by vanguard guitarist Mary Halvorson and irrepressible drummer Kevin Shea, the intrepid duo's prior efforts were issued by I And Ear Records. Joined by bassist Kyle Forester, this session finds the newly configured three-piece occasionally augmented by a stellar brass trio, consisting of trumpeter Peter Evans, trombonist Sam Kulik and tuba player Dan Peck.

Halvorson's widely celebrated improvisational prowess and Shea's capricious tendencies (best demonstrated in the "terrorist bebop band" Mostly Other People Do the Killing) fortifies People's mercurial virtuosity, although the band's unfettered approach is equally inspired by punk's rebellious nature. Eclipsing post-modern clichés, Halvorson's sober interpretations of Shea's wry lyrics offer meta-level meditations on songwriting that are as witty as they are sophisticated—paralleling her protean fretwork.

Although the hardcore bluster of "What's So Woman About That Woman" comes across as a brash riff on Lionel Richie's "Three Times a Lady," "The Lyrics Are Simultaneously About How The Song Starts And What The Lyrics Are About" is exactly what it sounds like, a step by step explanation of the song as it progresses, rocking with abstract verve the entire time. Artfully deconstructed pop songs have never sounded so enjoyable.

Despite such irreverence, there are ample examples of urbane proficiency on display. The contrapuntal horn choral that opens the album, "Prolegomenon," far exceeds the compositional capabilities of the average indie-rocker—an aspect that is further examined on the following number, "These Words Make Up The Lyrics Of The Song," a combative encounter between the core trio and horn section. Adding gravitas to humorous subject matter, Halvorson's harmonious vocals are vaguely reminiscent of Mary Timony's work with Helium and Wild Flag, especially on the catchy "Piles For Miles," while "Supersensible Hydrofracked Dystopia!!!" tackles topical subject matter—in a mere 51 seconds.

Negotiating tricky time signatures, sudden tempo shifts, and dynamic modulations in tone, the trio rocks hard, but smart, delivering fourteen idiosyncratic tunes that range in duration from less than a minute to almost seven. Boldly exploring the fertile no man's land between jazz, rock and the avant-garde, People play fast and loose with conventional song forms and listener expectations, but 3xaWoman never fails to impress or entertain.

Track Listing: Prolegomenon; These Words Make Up The Lyrics Of The Song; What's So Woman About That Woman; A Song With Melody And Harmony And Words And Rhythm; Supersensible Hydrofracked Dystopia!!!; Zwischenspiel; Reinterpreting Confusing Lyrics To Popular Songs; Interoperable Intertrigo; Piles For Miles; Psychic Recapitulation; The Virtuous Relapse; The Caveman Connection; The Lyrics Are Simultaneously About How The Song Starts And What The Lyrics Are About; The Disambiguated Clone.

Personnel: Mary Halvorson: guitar, voice, composition; Kyle Forester: bass, voice, acoustic guitar; Kevin Shea: drums, voice, lyrics; Peter Evans: trumpet, horn arrangements (1, 2, 4, 6); Sam Kulik: trombone, bass trombone (1, 2, 4, 6); Dan Peck: tuba (1, 2, 4, 6).

Title: 3xaWoman: The Misplaced Files | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Telegraph Harp

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Brothers CD/LP/Track Review
Brothers
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 24, 2018
Read The Fearless Flyers CD/LP/Track Review
The Fearless Flyers
by John Bricker
Published: September 24, 2018
Read Super Mood CD/LP/Track Review
Super Mood
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 24, 2018
Read Beheaded Totem CD/LP/Track Review
Beheaded Totem
by James Fleming
Published: September 24, 2018
Read New Hope CD/LP/Track Review
New Hope
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 23, 2018
Read The Nobuki Takamen Trio CD/LP/Track Review
The Nobuki Takamen Trio
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 23, 2018
Read "Danza Imposible" CD/LP/Track Review Danza Imposible
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 20, 2017
Read "1538" CD/LP/Track Review 1538
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 19, 2018
Read "Roadwork 1/Roadwork2/Homework1 (Box Set)" CD/LP/Track Review Roadwork 1/Roadwork2/Homework1 (Box Set)
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 29, 2018
Read "Beheaded Totem" CD/LP/Track Review Beheaded Totem
by James Fleming
Published: September 24, 2018
Read "Old Soul" CD/LP/Track Review Old Soul
by Anya Wassenberg
Published: February 26, 2018
Read "Standards" CD/LP/Track Review Standards
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 16, 2017