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Barry Romberg's Random Access: Accidental Beef

Jerry D'Souza By

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Barry Romberg's Random access continues its musical adventures with some Accidental Beef that was put together at the Rex Hotel in Toronto. It was a good night: the band exudes a raw, intense urgency that has been captured in all its glory. The music balances improvisation with a basic structure, providing a perfect base for the musicians to take off on a trajectory or play in consonance. As they have done on past recordings, they do so once again, with emphasis.

Romberg is as imaginative a drummer as he is a composer and leader. He lets "Blair's Choice be a completely improvisatory outing for the band. He takes the first beat, going into a rhythmic mode that is filled with space. In no hurry, he lets his drums and the percussion send a message, his touch at one point light and flitting, going on to adopt a solid structure. Even as he does that, he changes the patterns and the pulse, and when it does start pounding, in comes Kevin Turcotte on trumpet, who's at ease in any setting. He's been an articulate voice for several years, always bringing in different and engaging elements. Here he goes out on a hard, evolving solo, his notes a pungent blast.

Give Hugh Marsh a note and he can transform it a myriad ways. His violin is the harbinger of surprise, and he works the spell once again, assembling a tumultuous array of lines. The final voicing goes to Kelly Jefferson, who takes the saxophone into Middle Eastern motifs, turning the whole tune over and out, most beguilingly.

Each musician picks his own pitch on three tunes, including "Whoa Nellie, a melding of rock and jazz, which provides the perfect setting for guitarist Geoff Young. He sits comfortably in both worlds, embracing the harmony of jazz as much as feedback and hard riffs. He manifests all this here, playing with an unfettered passion, spurred on by Romberg bassist Rich Brown's fiery impetus.

Random Access scores another winner with Accidental Beef, and the wait for the next CD begins.


Track Listing: Whoa Nellie; Blair's Choice; Live Evil; Make Up Your Mind; Accidental Beef.

Personnel: Barry Romberg: drums and percussion; Hugh Marsh: violin; Geoff Young: guitars; Rich Brown: bass; Kevin Turcotte: trumpet; Kelly Jefferson: saxes; Blair Mackay: percussion.

Title: Accidental Beef | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Romhog Records


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