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Mike Pride’s From Bacteria to Boys: Betweenwhile

Mark Corroto By

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Certainly, any attempt to pigeonhole this drummer is a lesson in failure; priding himself in his diverse interests, whether recording a duet album of free improvisation with Jon Irabagon, on I Don''t Hear Nothin' But The Blues (Loyal Label, 2009), or playing with punk band Millions Of Dead Cops, Mike Pride he has also distinguished himself as a dynamic and responsive sideman to the likes of Andrew D'Angelo, Jason Stein, and Jack Wright. He leads—or is a contributing partner to—the noise duo Bunda Love, Whoopie Pie (with McHenry and Jamie Saft), and Big F**king Sellout, a quintet that expands into a big band.

Bacteria To Boys is probably the closest Pride has ever come to recording an album that could be filed in the jazz section, having penned nine of its ten tracks. Two versions of "Kancamagus" bookend that album: performed first in piano trio, with Alexis Marcelo} (Yusef Lateef); and then as a saxophone trio with Darius Jones. The tenderhearted ballad, infused with the blues, touches upon sentiment, as well as the mystery of players such as Paul Bley and Paul Desmond.

Like Pride, saxophonist Darius Jones (Little Women, Cooper-Moore, William Hooker) can hold court on the outside edges of jazz. Coming inside here, he expresses Pride's bebop themed "Rose" with swift dispatch, following bassist Peter Bitenc's 4/4 pulse. The band plays the two-minute piece almost straight. Almost. It's speed and off-kilter tilt is a reminder that these players have absorbed Charlie Parker in equal measures with hip-hop and the teachings of Anthony Braxton.

That perspective might be best exemplified in the cut-up collage of "It Doesn't Stop," beginning with Philip Glass-meets-Robert Fripp repetitions that morph into a slurry freedom, driven like a stolen car by the Pride. Listeners are asked to follow, no chase the band's diagrammed maelstrom. It is great fun following—no, chasing—the band's diagrammed maelstrom, as is the complex "Bole: the Mouth of What?," where Pride mixes a brooding opening piano with a footslog into R&B territory and a joyous ending.

Highlights include the cool, early 1960s Miles Davis-like swing of the title track; the impish "Emo Hope," with its post-bop exuberance, and "12 Lines for Build," a jazz piece built upon the pop cues.

Track Listing: Kancamagus; Reese Witherspoon; Rose; It Doesn't Stop; Emo Hope; Bole: the Mouth of What?; Inbetweenwhile; Surcharge; 12 Lines for Build; Kancamagus.

Personnel: Darius Jones: alto saxophone; Peter Bitenc: bass; Alexis Marcelo: piano; Mike Pride: drums.

Title: Betweenwhile | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: AUM Fidelity

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