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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.
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.