Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

254

Slow Poke: At Home

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Slow Poke was a unique band, even among the fertile late nineties Downtown (New York) scene. Gradually warming to neo-classical formalism, various Downtown line-ups began incorporating traditional elements into their compositions, progressively moving beyond their No Wave roots by embracing a more traditional aesthetic. Blending accessible tunefulness with adventurous improvisation, ensembles like Ballin' The Jack, The Jazz Passengers and Sex Mob all embraced various aspects of the mainstream, but none with as much melodic assuredness as Slow Poke.

Slow Poke's collective resume features an A-list of cutting edge nineties-era talent; bassist Ben Allison, guitarist Bill Frisell, The Lounge Lizards, Sex Mob, singer Tom Waits and saxophonist/composer John Zorn have all utilized the services of the members of this quartet.

Saxophonist Michael Blake, slide guitarist David Tronzo, bassist Tony Scherr and drummer Kenny Wollesen recorded At Home at Scherr's house in 1998, self-releasing it two years before their official label debut, Redemption (Intuition, 2000). A mix of bluesy atmospherics and soulful reflection, this off the cuff meeting of friends embodies the camaraderie of a freewheeling, casual jam session with a dedicated focus on melodic development.

Slowing down the tempos of pop tunes and re-harmonizing their chord changes for added resonance, the quartet takes a languorous stride through Eddie Harris' "Listen Hear," Neil Young's "Harvest" and Nashville-based alt.country band Lambchop's "The Saturday Option" with delicate poise. Blake's breathy tenor and Tronzo's lithe electric slide reveal euphonious melodies and sumptuous harmonies while Scherr and Wollesen ply relaxed, in-the-pocket rhythms with carefree ease.

With its ebullient polyrhythms peppered with delectable melodious kernels and kaleidoscopic counterpoint, Blake's highlife-influenced "Afro Blake" introduces another side of the band. Duke Ellington's "Rockin' In Rhythm" is given a punchy funk twist while "Make Out Machine" is a buoyant, celebratory excursion.

Rich with dusky soul and bluesy slow burn, Slow Poke trades flashy virtuosity for melodic maturity and lyrical finesse. Reissued by Palmetto Records, At Home is a gorgeous recording devoid of pretension, and a perfect opportunity to hear four masters unwind as they explore the subtlety of well crafted tunes.


Track Listing: Listen Hear; Afro Blake; Harvest; Rockin' In Rhythm; Dry Socket; Make Out Machine; The Saturday Option.

Personnel: Michael Blake: tenor saxophone, toy keyboard; David Tronzo: slide guitar and baritone guitar; Tony Scherr: electric and acoustic bass, guitar; Kenny Wollesen: drums and percussion.

Title: At Home | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Palmetto Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Rain or Shine CD/LP/Track Review Rain or Shine
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 15, 2017
Read Lighthouse CD/LP/Track Review Lighthouse
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 15, 2017
Read Copenhagen Live 1964 CD/LP/Track Review Copenhagen Live 1964
by John Sharpe
Published: December 15, 2017
Read Somewhere Glimmer CD/LP/Track Review Somewhere Glimmer
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 15, 2017
Read Lattice CD/LP/Track Review Lattice
by John Sharpe
Published: December 14, 2017
Read I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert CD/LP/Track Review I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 14, 2017
Read "Wobbly Dance Flower" CD/LP/Track Review Wobbly Dance Flower
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 4, 2017
Read "Passin' Thru" CD/LP/Track Review Passin' Thru
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 12, 2017
Read "N.O. Escape" CD/LP/Track Review N.O. Escape
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 26, 2017
Read "Going North" CD/LP/Track Review Going North
by Chris Mosey
Published: April 19, 2017
Read "Coalesce" CD/LP/Track Review Coalesce
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: March 27, 2017
Read "Disconnected" CD/LP/Track Review Disconnected
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 3, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!