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Colorado-based “Hamster Theatre” celebrates their third release, titled Carnival Detournement, as this effort also represents the band’s freshman outing for the “Cuneiform Records” label. Multi-instrumentalists Dave Willey and Jon Stubbs denote the core of this enterprising aggregation while the duo garners additional support from ten guest artists for what equates to a genuinely affable and inventive progressive rock-style multi-part opus. Basically, the musician’s meld disparate elements into their palate as this set features an abundance of kaleidoscopic intervals, modern jazz type improvisation, subtle EFX and melodramatic motifs that do indeed parallel a theatrical climate. On “Jeanne-Marie”, the band injects Parisian themes amid rock undercurrents and tricky time signatures, whereas, flutist Mark Harris pursues Erik Satie-like melodies into a framework consisting of multilayered keys, guitars and lilting movements.
The piece titled, “The Turn of Events” boasts a placid horn arrangement atop an orchestration that seemingly mimics the sounds of a calliope in a circus as you could easily envision marionettes dangling from strings or perhaps visiting a freak show in a tent. However, the band performs these complex and for the most part, memorable works with a distinct edge along with a plethora of diversionary tactics and clever articulations. Hence, Carnival Detournement is a luminous and exhaustively congenial affair that might liberate the listener’s mind’s eye from it’s daily drudgeries!
I love jazz because it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.