Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help
173

Screaming Headless Torsos: Live!

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count Views
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.

Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: FuzeLicious Morsels | Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock


Shop For Jazz

DVD/Video/Film Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
[no cover]
2005
FuzeLicious Morsels
2005
buy
[no cover]
Live!! In New York...
FuzeLicious Morsels
2005
buy
2005
2005
FuzeLicious Morsels
2004
buy
[no cover]
Live!!
FuzeLicious Morsels
2002
buy
1995
1995
FuzeLicious Morsels
2002
buy
Live!
Live!
FuzeLicious Morsels
2002
buy
Jaco Pastorius Jaco Pastorius
bass, electric
Weather Report Weather Report
band/orchestra
John Scofield John Scofield
guitar
Hiram Bullock Hiram Bullock
guitar, electric
Hiromi Hiromi
piano
Steve Coleman Steve Coleman
sax, alto
Billy Cobham Billy Cobham
drums

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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