Drummer Dave Kerman is recognized as a prominent figure in the modern-day Rock In Opposition style of progressive rock. Besides past and present drumming assignments for the likes of Present, Thinking Plague, and many others (on an international basis), the Los Angeles-reared artist founded the 5uu’s back in 1984. The band’s name derives from gang graffiti spray-painted on buildings. Through various permutations, the 5uu’s have become somewhat synonymous with abandoning the theoretical rules of engagement. With the band’s latest effort (recorded in Tel Aviv), Kerman displays his faculties as a composer and a multi-instrumentalist along with support from Thinking Plague vocalist Deborah Perry and others.
On this release, Kerman frames many of his thematic forays upon multipart rhythmic structures, evidenced by odd-metered measures, spotty synth treatments, and trance-like unison lines. The drummer also utilizes the talents of sound engineer Udi Koomran, who apparently supplies a portion of the electronics-based effects.
Kerman and his associates execute a booming ostinato during “Suits,” an opus marked by regimented progressions, strategically placed accents, and variegated rhythmical flows. In fact, some of these works spur thoughts of cartoon character escapades, amid nearly indecipherable recitations and a constant state of movement. No doubt, the band aims to keep the listener’s psyche on a continuous state of alert.
Perry vocalizes atop a linearly devised pulse during “Noah’s Flame,” while the musicians perpetuate a quasi-gothic vibe, complete with airy synth voicings and subliminal EFX. This release is partly about gingerly proposed surprises, and it further establishes Kerman’s relevance as a serious composer/musician. Recommended.
I was first exposed to jazz while working overseas in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I would listen to the Voice of America on the radio and they had a nightly jazz program on at 10:00pm. I learned a lot about jazz listening to this program. I also had a friend who listened to real jazz by artists like Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy and Archie Shepp. On my way home from Africa I landed in New York and had the opportunity to see the George Adams/Don Pullen quartet at the Village Vanguard as well as Kenny Barron and Ron Carter at another club, and was in heaven.