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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 anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.