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Steuart Liebig / The Mentones: Angel City Dust

Glenn Astarita By

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Angel City Dust marks the third outing for bassist Steuart Liebig's largely aggressive and rowdy quartet, where progressive and avant-garde jazz uncannily coexist with high-impact blues-rock. Nevertheless, the musicians can lay claim to a deviating, multi-genre outlook that is morphed into a singular sound, partly due to chromatic harmonica ace Bill Barrett's frontline work with alto saxophonist Tony Atherton. Then Leibig adds another compelling element via his limber bottom-end and fluent unison lines with the soloists.

Drummer Joseph Berardi's often pummeling and turbo-mode backbeats offer a mammoth undercurrent. Driven by spirited sax and harmonica breakouts, the musicians lay it all out with foot-stomping pulses and brain-rattling avant, boogie rockers amid the knotty time signatures. They toss in a few oddball digressions and wail away throughout the entire session.

Liebig takes a fluid, yet monstrous bass solo atop Berardi's relentless thrust on "Locustland," and the soloists turn up the heat with frenetic lines during the intense frameworks heard on the aptly titled, "Fire and Ice." In other regions of sound and scope, the artists execute off-kilter dirges, along with hard-edged bump and grind motifs. Moreover, Barrett and Atherton generate an interesting series of harmonic phrasings, given the odd instrumentation pairing. Hence, the band imparts a cleverly articulated balance, consisting of cerebral implications, punishing jazz-based improvisations and a rollicking and rolling undercurrent.


Track Listing: Fingeroo; Wool; All Gone; Empty; Locustland; Fire & Ice; Lonelyheart; Slow Burn Fever; Kingfish; Out, Down and Over; Headlock; Peach Tree; Topped Off.

Personnel: Tony Atherton: alto saxophone; Joseph Berardi: drumset, percussion; Bill Barrett: chromatic harmonica; Steuart Liebig: contrabassguitars.

Title: Angel City Dust | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: pfMentum

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