198

Andy Haas/Don Fiorino: Death Don't Have No Mercy

Florence Wetzel By

Sign in to view read count
Andy Haas/Don Fiorino: Death Don't Have No Mercy John Lennon once said that the world is run by insane people for insane purposes. So what's an ordinary citizen to do? One response is to make music, and Death Don't Have No Mercy is a clear response to the current insanity—namely the shameful war America is waging in Iraq. Good, we need more protest music. Best of all, this is an extraordinary recording, a stimulating blend of sounds and cultures fueled by great passion.

Part of what makes the disc special is the instrumentation. Andy Haas plays saxophone, piri (Korean woodwind), fife, and live electronics, and Don Fiorino plays guitar, lotar (Moroccan lute), banjo, and dobro. Each of the songs features just two of the instruments, in combinations ranging from guitar and sax to the more exotic dobro and piri. Weaving throughout are electronics, played by Haas with originality and vision. The duo is to be commended for seamlessly combining such apparently disparate instruments.

Of the twelve cuts, the three that strike deepest are renditions of traditional American war songs: "Anthem" is a version of the National Anthem, "Hymn" is a version of the "Marines' Hymn," and "Come Marching Home" is based on "When Johnny Comes Marching Home." Haas and Fiorino turn these songs on their heads, the familiar melodies deconstructed into soundscapes of disturbing beauty. Particularly moving is "Come Marching Home," where Haas' sax is so evocative it's chilling. Other standouts include "Ashes in the Sand," a gorgeous meditation that combines a mesmerizing lotar with sax and electronics, and the spare, haunting "Blood of Words."

The disc wraps up with "Que Sera¡, Sera," featuring a gentle guitar with sax and electronics. The song, where a child muses on his fate as an adult, can perhaps be heard as a poignant comment on the scores of Iraqi and American soldiers whose fates have surely taken turns they never envisioned or wanted.

This is genuinely exciting music with a rewarding wealth of sounds and ideas. And by interweaving traditional American war songs with others that evoke war's pain and futility, Haas and Fiorino are making a point. As the quote on the cover says, "Is it any comfort to know that the tanks murdering in my name are digging a grave for my people as well?"

Track Listing: Anomalous Behavior; Anthem; Ashes in the Sand; Sinawi Spirits; Hymn; Blood of Words; Memorywound; Come Marching Home; Germline Manipulation; Death Don't Have No Mercy; Pharaoh in the Age of Hypocrisy; Que Sera, Sera.

Personnel: Andy Haas: saxophone, piri, fife, live electronics; Don Fiorino: guitar, lotar, banjo, dobro.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Resonant Music | Style: Beyond Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Dreamsville CD/LP/Track Review Dreamsville
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 26, 2017
Read April CD/LP/Track Review April
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Adam's Apple CD/LP/Track Review Adam's Apple
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Small World CD/LP/Track Review Small World
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 26, 2017
Read High Time CD/LP/Track Review High Time
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Rags And Roots CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017
Read "Reunion" CD/LP/Track Review Reunion
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: September 17, 2016
Read "A Dark and Stormy Day" CD/LP/Track Review A Dark and Stormy Day
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 1, 2017
Read "Jazz Jukebox" CD/LP/Track Review Jazz Jukebox
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 31, 2016
Read "Habana Dreams" CD/LP/Track Review Habana Dreams
by James Nadal
Published: July 5, 2016
Read "Mac Gollehon & The Hispanic Mechanics" CD/LP/Track Review Mac Gollehon & The Hispanic Mechanics
by Paul Naser
Published: May 2, 2016
Read "Los Guachos V" CD/LP/Track Review Los Guachos V
by Budd Kopman
Published: July 1, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!