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 Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Dreaming With Eyes Wide Awake" CD/LP/Track Review Dreaming With Eyes Wide Awake
by Roger Farbey
Published: December 5, 2016
Read "Rings" CD/LP/Track Review Rings
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: July 3, 2016
Read "Play Date" CD/LP/Track Review Play Date
by James Nadal
Published: October 27, 2016
Read "Still, Up In The Air" CD/LP/Track Review Still, Up In The Air
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 7, 2016
Read "The Eighth Hour Of Amduat" CD/LP/Track Review The Eighth Hour Of Amduat
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 9, 2017
Read "Nine Dances Of Patrick O’Gonogon" CD/LP/Track Review Nine Dances Of Patrick O’Gonogon
by Duncan Heining
Published: November 25, 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!

Buy it!