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Now here’s a quirky little gem. New Jersey’s Justice On A Budget emerges with their first disc, a bright, enjoyable and unpredictable collection of “spontaneous and experimental tunes”. Track 1 kicks things off quietly on cat’s feet, a simple but catchy groove to be followed by relaxed Rhodes funk, Latin boogie, smoky nightclub bop and a blissfully bizarre reference to “Night In Tunisia” on Track 10. On two tracks the quartet is joined by saxophonist Sigmund Washington, who blats and honks his way through a truly off-kilter theme on Track 4. Keyboardist John Conahan is perhaps the most prominent figure in the mix; his spoken vocal on Track 5 adds an even more surreal aspect to the urban dreamscapes on this disc. Always interesting, never too obtrusive, rarely predictable. (NCM East Records, 219C Marshall Ave., Princeton, NJ 08540; http://www.ncmeast.com)
Track Listing: 1) Sunny Day; 2) New Millennium
Personnel: Ben Diamond, electric guitars; John Conahan, electric pianos, synths, whistles and vocals; Eric Hastings, drums and percussion; Cory Neale, acoustic bass; Sigmund Washington, saxophone.
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.