Here's a concisely arranged, quaint and slightly off-kilter effort from a crew of New York City musicians who generally shun the straight and narrow. Organist Jamie Shaft commences the opener, "Whatever Lola Wants," with an eerie, low-pitched groove followed by David Tronzo's wily slide guitar ruminations. The band continues to meld laid back, funk vibes with country blues and rock backbeats on many of these works. Saft's haunting organ motif serves as the underpinning for Tronzo's dreamy guitar and the group's altogether sullen soundscapes created on "Crawl." However, drummer Kenny Wollesen drags the pulse with his brushes while Tronzo consummates "Lane" with a Nashville flavor with his wistful pedal steel guitar work.
The musicians chart a course of quirkily fabricated themes and whispery choruses, although they provide an edge largely due to their unorthodox voicings and intermittent injections of humor and wit. They finalize the recording with a cacophonous, free improv fest on "Figure 1." Overall, El Oh El Ay is a fun outing, as the respective artists' distinct musical personalities provide that winning formula.
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.