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Reptet: Do This!

Dan McClenaghan By

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I looked up "reptet" in the dictionary. It's not there. The words skip from "reprove" to "reptile"... no "reptet" listed. Maybe I don't have a big enough dictionary, or maybe the Seattle-based sextet made it up. And why not? The music on the group's second CD is all about spontaneity and improvisation, unfettered, exuberant energy and rubbery, loose-limbed grooves—on the one hand they don't sound like they're taking it all too seriously, while on the other, they make some very fine modern-sounding music.

Various group members wrote the all-original compositions, and the influences have a broad base. "Zeppo," the opener (penned by trumpeter Samantha Boshnack), has a nicely cluttered Charles Mingus feel. "Bad Reed Blues" (by multi-reedist Tobi Stone) is a whimsical weave of reed (bass clarinet) and brass in a sort of New Orleans/Allen Toussaint horn arrangement—after, maybe, the great arranger has had a glass of wine or two—with brass and reeds swirling in and out of the mix without fighting each other, each finding their own space. Everybody's assertive, but in a cooperative way, like a careening musical Roller Derby team.

"Harpo"—there's a Marx Brothers theme going on here—includes special guest Bron Journey on harp. The delicate, classical-sounding beginning evolves into a hard-trudging, bass/drum-heavy forward momentum behind obstreperous horn solos. You'll hear a bunch of different small percussion instruments shaking and rattling in and out of the mix throughout the disc, suggesting a Art Ensemble of Chicago influence—with a strong sense of fun.

With Do This the Seattle-based Reptet has crafted a fresh, engaging and innovative sound.

Track Listing: Zeppa; Bad Reed Blues; Ro; Harpo; Chico; Groucho; Munia's Lament; Little Caesar; H.R.; Do This!

Personnel: Samantha Boshnack: trumpet, slide trumpet, flugelhorn; Ben O'Shea: trombone, juju seed rattle; Tobi Stone: baritone, alto and tenor saxophone, clarinet; Izaak Mills: alto and tenor saxophone, bass clarinet, flute bull moose call, frog, maraca, mini bell, tamborine, train whistle, wooden ratchet; Ben Verdier: bass; John Ewing: drums and percussion. Special Guests: Lalo Bello: congas, bongos, mini maracas, shekere; Bron Journey: harp

Title: Do This! | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Monktail Records

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