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Bitches Brew: Gooey Dewey

Glenn Astarita By

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Throughout the '90s and into the new millennium, the jazz world has witnessed quite a few spins on Miles Davis's electric funk/fusion period. The San Francisco-based outfit Bitches Brew has adopted the late trumpeter's methodologies into its overall sound and approach. A local Bay Area favorite, this nine-piece band presents more than just a few, thoroughly happening propositions.

Not content to ape or transcribe Davis's body of genre specific work, the ensemble injects its personal stamp into these rather all-encompassing excursions, awash with brazenly executed horn arrangements and thrusting undercurrents. On "Prelude (Part II)/On The Corner," the trumpeter known as Jab incorporates a dash of echo into his scorching pronouncements, while guitarists Ken Kearney and Ezra Gale pursue funk-drenched chord voicings. Hearty exchanges serve as a staple of the soloists' modus operandi, especially on "Gooey Dewey" as the musicians engage in foreboding themes atop keyboardist Patrick Morehead's grainy sounding electric piano solo. They render a booming slant on "Rated X," thanks to Jab's fiercely stated, muted trumpet solo and the rhythm section's bottom-heavy yet altogether lithe pulse. During "Black Satin" they connect psychedelic dreamscapes with in-the-pocket grooves, blending vast sheets of sound with Jack Chandler's wailing soprano sax solo.

Needless to say, these men have done their homework. They also combine more than enough chutzpah and shock therapy into their comprehensive program: there are thrills a minute. One might contemplate whether the group will branch out into other areas, but for the near term, Bitches Brew projects a congenial outlook via its shrewdly concocted stylizations. (*The live recording titled Bootleg Brew is slightly hindered by substandard audio quality and some background audience chatter, although their performances supercede some of the inadequacies.)

Bitches Brew


Title: Gooey Dewey | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Flatbed Lamborgini Records

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