Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » Screaming Headless Torsos: Live!

173

Screaming Headless Torsos: Live!

By

Sign in to view read count
Screaming Headless Torsos: Live!
In September of 1996, the Screaming Headless Torsos went live for the mikes at the Knitting Factory in New York. For any critics who claimed their prior studio effort was staged or polished, Live! set the record straight: the Torsos wield just as much raw energy and electicism on stage as they do in the studio. The original document of this adventure first appeared on the Japanese Videoarts label; but now guitarist David "Fuze" Fiuczynski has claimed it for his own, putting out a remastered version on Fuzelicious Morsels.

The Screaming Headless Torsos offer a tossed salad of styles, generally edging around the interface between funk, jazz, and energy music. For example, on "Smile in a Wave," they quote a rapid, stuttering theme from Miles Davis's Jack Johnson before tearing off into pounding thrash funk. Fuze's guitar work here is spectacular—it's the kind of virtuosity that serves a higher purpose far beyond the masturbatory self-congratulation of so many fusion guitarists. Whether working in the background or the foreground, Fuze is pure diesel fuel. The Torsos engine also owes much to the precision and cohesion of its other four members. Daniel Sadownick in particular shines on percussion, employing a wide-ranging palette of colors and sticking close to drummer Gene Lake's precise hits.

For the most part, the tunes on this record remain faithful to originals on the Torsos' debut. Launching into Blood Ulmer's "Jazz is the Teacher" on track three, the Torsos concoct a hybrid of jazz and funk that burns furiously forward. This is energy music. But one tune later, they retire to lighter, more lyrical territory on "Blue In Green." Not much predictability on Live! (A Darryl Dawkins tribute, for example... ???) But the band remains solid. These performances tend to aim more for thrash than funk, resuulting in regular explosive outbursts. Dean Bowman's hoarse screaming does get a bit annoying after a while, but that's a minor blemish on an otherwise fine record. The Screaming Headless Torsos opened a new chapter for fusion in the mid-'90s, and they continue to expand their vision as we speak. "Live!" is a revealing document of a project in progress.

Visit David Fiuczynski on the web.

Track Listing

Just for Now; Smile in a Wave; Jazz is the Teacher; Blue in Green; Word to Herb; Hope; Vinnie; Darryl Dawkins' Sound of Love; Kermes Macabre; Dig a Pony.

Personnel

Dean Bowman: vocals; David "Fuze" Fiuczynski: guitars; Daniel Sadownick: percussion; Fima Ephron: bass; Gene Lake: drums.

Album information

Title: Live! | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: FuzeLicious Morsels

Comments


For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

Tags

More

Light Streams
John Donegan - The Irish Sextet
Korean Fantasy
Kim Dae Hwan / Choi Sun Bae
Verbs
Simon Nabatov 3 + 2

Popular

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.