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...

476

Conjure: Bad Mouth

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Musical director Kip Hanrahan instigates some of the most visionary, funky, bluesy modern world music amalgams on record with Bad Mouth, alongside his sonic congregation, Conjure. He assembled the group in 1984 to set writer Ishmael Reed's poety to music, on both a self-titled debut and a second outing, Cab Calloway Stands in for the Moon (1983). Past members of Conjure include Bobby Womack, Eddie Harris, Don Pullen, Taj Majal, Olu Dara, Allen Toussaint, Steve Swallow, Jimmy Scott and Jack Bruce. This recent incarnation features tenor saxophonist David Murray, violinist Billy Bang, drummer Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez, and guitarists Leo Nocentelli and Alvin Youngblood Hart, plus five more percussionists, to cook up a stew of R&B, blues, Haitian music, jazz, rock and Latin grooves that makes the word "eclectic" seem a poor adjective.

The set opens with the Ishmael Reed/Kip Hanrahan/Leo Nocentelli-penned "Mo Ku Lana, Mo Jinde Loni." The piece starts out with a gospelish chant, "I died yesterday, I rose today," and evolves into a guitar-driven James Brown funk (featuring Leo Nocentelli and Alvin Youngblood Hart, who does the vocals here) over boiling percussion that sounds like a Curtis Mayfield/Godfather of Soul/"Cloud Nine"-era Temptations brew.

"In a War Such Things Happen" introduces Reed's vocals, lambasting the slaughters—in starkly unadorned language—created by both Rumsfeldian and jihadist mind sets. "He Picked a Fight With the Haitians" brings in a more pastoral world music: gentle guitars, burbling percussion and Afro-Caribbean vocals behind Reed's spoken words. The title track goes hard into funky R&B, while "Tokyo Woman Blues" gets deep into a horn-augmented Albert King blues mode, with Reed's lyics sung by Alvin Youngblood Hart in English and Japanese. A huge elevating factor in the sound is Billy Bang's violin, rising like a snake out of the guitar grooves, followed by David Murray's unrestrained tenor sax, going for broke and roaring in an inspired fashion over the rock-steady bass/guitar drums rhythm.

That's disc one, a masterfully rendered set of music, full of funky fire and jazz brimstone. Disc two keeps that pace up, beginning with the Reed/Murray-penned piece "Go to Jazz," where the poet sings the praises of Fats Navarro, Prez, Billie and Dinah, as opposed to Gabriel and the angels.

The set closes with "Prayer to Earth" (by Reed and Murray), a thanks to the celestial orb that has spawned Thelonious Monk, the Alps, the black sand of Hilo, George Clinton's funk and more. Hear this recording and you'll be thanking the earth for Kip Hanrahan, Ishmael Reed, David Murray and Conjure. Magnificent!

Track Listing: CD1: Mo Ku Lana, Mo Jinde Loni; Conjuring a Calm Between Wars, On a War Such Things Happen, He Picked a Fight With the Haitians, For Dancer, Bad Mouth, Tokyo Woman Blues. CD2: Go to Jazz, Louisiana Red, At the Azabu Cafe, medley: Jack Johnson/Skirt Dance, Prayer to Earth.

Personnel: Alvin Youngblood Hart: voice, electric guitar; Fernando Saunders: voice, electric bass; Leo Nocentelli: electric guitar; Anthony Cox: electric bass; Horacio El Negro Hernandez: trap drums; Robby Ameen: trap drums; Yosvanni Terry: alto sax, checkere, voice; Pedro Martinez: voice, congas, percussion; Ricie Flores: congas; Ishmael Reed: voice: recitations; Billy Bang: violin; David Murray: tenor sax; Dafnis Prieto: trap drums; Kip Hanrahan: musical director, voice.

Title: Bad Mouth | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: American Clave

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Fred Hersch Trio '97 @ The Village Vanguard CD/LP/Track Review
Fred Hersch Trio '97 @ The Village Vanguard
by Doug Collette
Published: December 13, 2018
Read The Forest from Above CD/LP/Track Review
The Forest from Above
by John Eyles
Published: December 13, 2018
Read Imaginary Band CD/LP/Track Review
Imaginary Band
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 13, 2018
Read Night CD/LP/Track Review
Night
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: December 13, 2018
Read An Ayler Xmas Volume 2 CD/LP/Track Review
An Ayler Xmas Volume 2
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 13, 2018
Read I Always Knew CD/LP/Track Review
I Always Knew
by Paul Rauch
Published: December 12, 2018
Read "Rogue Star" CD/LP/Track Review Rogue Star
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 17, 2018
Read "Paimon: Book of Angels Volume 32" CD/LP/Track Review Paimon: Book of Angels Volume 32
by Don Phipps
Published: December 13, 2017
Read "We Are the Orchestra" CD/LP/Track Review We Are the Orchestra
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 29, 2018
Read "Drift" CD/LP/Track Review Drift
by Paul Rauch
Published: July 18, 2018
Read "Lab 2018/The Rhythm Of The Road" CD/LP/Track Review Lab 2018/The Rhythm Of The Road
by Chris Mosey
Published: September 11, 2018
Read "Volume 3" CD/LP/Track Review Volume 3
by Gareth Thompson
Published: November 23, 2018