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Junk Genius: Ghost of Electricity

Glenn Astarita By

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Clarinetist Ben Goldberg and guitarist John Schott have been performing together for a number of years in various settings, bands and recordings while often utilizing the expert talents (and killer rhythm section we may add) of drummer Kenny Wollesen and bassist Trevor Dunn. On this newSonglinesrelease titled, Ghost of Electricity the band perform under the moniker of “Junk Genius”.

The set commences with a piece titled, “Gone Away” which is all about subtle dialogue between Goldberg and Schott appended by climactic development which more often than not, appears to be that of an inquisitive nature coupled by emotional outpourings of deprivation or loss. Very effective imagery as Goldberg and Schott get quite a bit of mileage out of sparse yet distinct phrasing that strikes a nerve or two. “Hollersdale” features Wollesen’s sweeping press rolls as the band accelerate like a locomotive building up steam. Here, the band create impact as they rollick and roll along with a melodic theme augmented by sharp dialogue from Goldberg and Schott who are quite effective at counterbalancing one another here and throughout. “Long Way” is somewhat pensive in scope as bassist Trevor Dunn plucks single note lines echoing Goldberg’s soul searching lines. Here the band evoke an air of suspense with implied movement which also suggests wide open terrain as if they were trekking by foot through the plains of Kansas, many miles away from their final destination. Again, vivid imagery takes precedence....

The band adhere more to the “outside” on “Strung” via Dunn’s commanding thumping bass lines, surging drum work from Wollesen and expressive improvisation by Schott and Goldberg whereas, “When” offers soft ethereal passages emphasized by Wollesen’s delicate touch while utilizing his mallets. “Indication” sounds like an excerpt from one of those old American Civil War tunes as Goldberg’s simply stated and sentimentally sublime phrasing beckons traditional Americana song-writing; although, Kenny Wollesen does a fine job of offsetting the serenity with a tasty drum solo.

Ghost of Electricity is modern jazz with a fresh yet curiously interesting slant, then again these men are pro’s; however, a few more up tempo or dare we say “scorchers” thrown into the mix may have stirred the pot a bit. We know that these gents are fully capable of soaring into the ozone on occasion but this is a minor complaint; otherwise, Ghost of Electricity should succeed at satisfying the listener’s sense of adventure! * * * *

Web: www.songlines.com


Title: Ghost of Electricity | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Songlines Recordings

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