All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.
On their MySpace page, Gato Loco describes itself as Death-Danzon. Well, that's certainly a part of the group's pan-Latin mangling. Or how about "avant mambo"? Or "a giant tarantula dancing with a woman in slow motion"? Yes, of course.
Stefan Zeniuk is the ringleader. A barely-controlled chaos is the sprawling combo's accustomed state and their pressing task for this album is to harness that raucous, celebratory atmosphere. At 35 minutes, it's a short blast, but eight tracks make up "CocoNino" itself, which is a rabble of a suite, dashing through a variety of complementary style-graftings.
The electric guitars of Mike Gamble and Clifton Hyde provide a significant amount of grit, recalling the retro-extreme Latin projects of Marc Ribot, part '50s reverb and part frazzled rock from a few decades later. Unavoidably, the horns are dominant, given that most of the 12-strong membership blow tough, ranging from Zeniuk's tenor and bass saxophones (plus bass clarinet), through trumpet, trombone, bass trombone and right down to a gruffly straining tuba. A three-man percussion battalion drives forcefully, from full kit to ratchet and, er, frog.
Zeniuk shapes a mottled glitz to disguise his leviathan's dancefloor glide as they parade across the decadent ballroom, exhuming vintage south-of-the-border stylings. The horns slur and slide, with no shortage of deep low end. The second 'movement' opens with a blubbery tuba, hinting at a New Orleans procession, but by the third part Gato Loco are acting as if Jamaican Ska is a Latin sub-division.
The solos don't over-extend themselves. There's a swift procession of pointed displays. On the fifth episode, Hyde's acoustic guitar picks light web-strands amidst heavy horn interference. The sixth section boasts a notably strong tune, riffing all the way to TV themeland. Next, the drums get low and we're lost in Brazil, Trinidad or Transylvania. Hurtling on regardless, the "CocoNino" climax is sustained until the closing part's wind-down.
Track Listing: CocoNino #s 1-8.
Personnel: Stefan Zeniuk: tenor/bass saxophones, bass clarinet, voice; Jesse Selengut: trumpet, flügelhorn; Eric Biyondo: trumpet, voice; Kevin Moehringer: trombone; Rick Becker: trombone, bass trombone; Joe Exley: tuba; Clifton Hyde: acoustic, electric & classical guitars, voice; Mike Gamble: electric guitar; Ari Folman-Cohen: bass; Greg Stare: drums, percussion; Brett Tyson: congas; Rich Stein: percussion.
Year Released: 2010
| Record Label: Gato Loco Musica
| Style: Latin/World
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me. If we don't run a review, Alligator Records is going to stop servicing us.
Night Flight opened up a whole new world for me--the blues led me, inevitably, to Basie, who led to Duke, who led to Mingus, who led to Miles, who led to ...