95

Jazz Is Dead: Laughing Water

Ed Kopp By

Sign in to view read count
Jazz Is Dead: Laughing Water On Laughing Water, the fusion ensemble Jazz Is Dead one-ups the band that it sets out to honor. Laughing Water is a superior remake of the Grateful Dead's rather ordinary rock album Wake of the Flood.

Jazz is Dead's core musicians Jimmy Herring (guitar), T Lavitz (keys) and Alphonso Johnson (bass) trade melodic licks as they reinterpret the Dead's modal tunes from 1973. Fortunately you don't have to be a Deadhead to appreciate this album. Laughing Water not only fuses jam-rock with jazz, but it possesses a country-bluesy Americana flavor, thanks in part to the presence of bluegrass legend Vassar Clements (violin) and new Allman Brother Derek Trucks (slide guitar).

Drummer Billy Cobham is replaced here by two drummers, Rod Morgenstein and Jeff Sipe, paralleling the Grateful Dead approach. Donna Jean Godchauz (vocals) and Steve Kimrock (guitar) also appear.

The songs on Laughing Water are long and improvisational, but they seldom grow boring. From a purely technical standpoint, each musician in Jazz Is Dead is a a superior player to his counterpart in the Grateful Dead. But unlike many pop-jazz remakes of rock albums, Laughing Water manages to capture the rock 'n roll animus of the original. The communal carefree spirit of tie-died counterculturalism lives on in this music.

Not only should Deadheads come away happy, but fusion freaks and aficianados of improvisational rock should, too.

Title: Laughing Water | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Zebra Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends CD/LP/Track Review Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Heaven On Their Minds CD/LP/Track Review Heaven On Their Minds
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Unnatural  Events CD/LP/Track Review Unnatural Events
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Rediscovered Ellington CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by James Nadal
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Clean CD/LP/Track Review Clean
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 15, 2017
Read Expedition: Duo Electro-Acoustic Improvisations CD/LP/Track Review Expedition: Duo Electro-Acoustic Improvisations
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 15, 2017
Read "Start to Move" CD/LP/Track Review Start to Move
by Rokas Kucinskas
Published: September 20, 2016
Read "Revelation" CD/LP/Track Review Revelation
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 16, 2016
Read "Point and Line" CD/LP/Track Review Point and Line
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: July 7, 2017
Read "Cool" CD/LP/Track Review Cool
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: November 21, 2016
Read "Alcanza" CD/LP/Track Review Alcanza
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: August 14, 2017
Read "Nor Sea, nor Land, nor Salty Waves" CD/LP/Track Review Nor Sea, nor Land, nor Salty Waves
by Duncan Heining
Published: April 30, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.