274

Revolutionary Snake Ensemble: Forked Tongue

Joel Roberts By

Sign in to view read count
Revolutionary Snake Ensemble: Forked Tongue What do Billy Idol, Ornette Coleman and Doris Day have in common? One thing at least: They’re all fodder for the creative madness of the Revolutionary Snake Ensemble (RSE), the wildly eclectic, uproariously entertaining Boston-based group that offers a post-modern, Sun Ra-meets-Mardi Gras twist (down to their outrageous costumes) on the New Orleans brass band tradition.



RSE is the brainchild of alto saxophonist Ken Field, whose resume includes everything from post-punk (he’s a longtime member of Birdsongs of the Mesozoic) to classical composition to Sesame Street. While the seven-piece band (four horns, bass, drums and percussion) has been performing together in various guises for nearly 20 years, Forked Tongue is only its second release. The album covers a dizzying range of music from reinventions of spirituals like “Just a Closer Walk with Thee,” “Give Me Jesus” and “Down By the Riverside” (with stirring vocals from guest Gabrielle Agachicko) to high-spirited Field originals. Meanwhile, Coleman’s “Chippie” is recast as a carnival-esque jam while “Que Sera Sera,” a lighthearted hit for Day in the ‘50s, becomes an unlikely party tune with an infectious Big Easy street beat. And really, who can resist a group that turns Idol’s ‘80s MTV staple “White Wedding” (which allegedly entered the band’s book when they were hired to play a wedding for a family named White) into an avant-funk free for all?



Beyond the novelty of the repertoire, RSE impresses with its tight grooves and energetic improvisations, as well as its commitment to tearing down walls between genres and making music that’s fun, funky and smart.


Track Listing: Just A Closer Walk; Slots; Little Liza Jane; The Large S; Chippie; Give Me Jesus; Down By The Riverside; Que Sera Sera; White Wedding; Minor Vee.

Personnel: Ken Field: alto sax, whistles and percussion; Andrew Hickman: tenor sax; Jon Fraser: trumpet; Lennie Peterson: trombone; Kimon Kirk: acoustic bass; Eric Paull and Phil Neighbors: drums, percussion; Gabrielle Agachicko: vocals; Karen Aqua: djembe, tambourine; Andy Pinkham: electric bass; Jesse Williams: bass.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Cuneiform Records | Style: Funk/Groove


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Kid Ory Kid Ory
trombone
Kermit Ruffins Kermit Ruffins
trumpet
Jack Teagarden Jack Teagarden
trombone
Microscopic Septet Microscopic Septet
band/orchestra
Robert Walter Robert Walter
organ, Hammond B3
Dirty Dozen Brass Band Dirty Dozen Brass Band
band/orchestra
Rebirth Brass Band Rebirth Brass Band
band/orchestra

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "The Motorman's Son" CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Rise Of Orion" CD/LP/Track Review Rise Of Orion
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 15, 2016
Read "No Filter" CD/LP/Track Review No Filter
by Mark F. Turner
Published: January 11, 2017
Read "When You Wish Upon a Star" CD/LP/Track Review When You Wish Upon a Star
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 3, 2016
Read "Espiritu Zombi" CD/LP/Track Review Espiritu Zombi
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 22, 2016
Read "Impulsive Illuminations" CD/LP/Track Review Impulsive Illuminations
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 28, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

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!