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This cheery modern/mainstream jazz jubilee is brought to us by West Coast trumpeter Joel Penner and his sextet. There's nothing particularly novel here, but Penner and saxophonist Michael Rose render snazzy, finger-snapping charts through vigorously flowing swing, jazz-funk and other styles. The band also delves into Latin terrain, along with fast-paced bop lines. The highlight for me is their radiant, quasi-jazz-shuffle-blues spin on Keith Jarrett's "The Windup, where guitarist Doug Macdonald trades sprightly fours with the soloists as they respectively redefine melodies and harmonic intervals. Ultimately, Penner and his sextet churn out a series of stridently conceived and slightly edgy jazz standards. It's a workmanlike effort, performed with passion and gusto.
Dub Syndicate is a collective of space-dub heroes like bassist Bill Laswell and drummer Style Scott. This two-CD extravaganza is all about echoing trance overlays, booming bass lines and vocals by Big Youth, Junior Reed, Yasus Afari and others. Naturally, it's a groove-oriented endeavor; the artists capitalize and reformulate the sounds of reggae beats with Rob Smith's so called "mega-mixes and reverberating background treatments. Beyond the subculture implications, including the snazzy and ultra-hip text often used to describe these DJ/hip/groove/dub recordings, the music offers high-end entertainment. The dual CD package packs a mighty wallop, effectively revealing the various ways and angles in which a dub motif can be spun.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.