103

Curlew: Mercury

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Curlew: Mercury Curlew is a long-standing revolving fusion unit with deep roots, drawing heavily from New York's alternative music scene over 24 years and nine records. Curlew has developed a cult following of sorts, driven by saxophonist George Cartwright's enduring vision. Cartwright contributes about half of the compositions on Mercury and some of the record's most energetic playing, though there aren't any notable weaknesses elsewhere in the quintet.

By the time the brief and ironically titled "Still" erupts from the speakers, there's no doubt this will be an edgy, energetic voyage. It's a burning hunk of a rocker, underpinned by Fred Chalenor's ostinato bass and distorted blocks of sound from the guitar of Dean Granros. After Cartwright takes things to the outer limits, the group pauses a bit to regroup and work through a theme. It gets right back into energy mode with a (seeming) collective improvisation where nobody hesitates to butt heads. Down the road, "Still Still" takes off where the opener began.

Keyboard player Chris Parker contributes "Funny Money," which goes deep into a hefty funk fueled by a guitar vamp and tight drumming. Brief solos gradually turn toward a reverberant dream sequence, which then dissolves right back into the backbeat and then a jumpy group improvisation, only to close out with another dreamy wisp. Down the road, Fred Chalenor's "Ludlow" offers a more regular alternative, anchored by an undulating rhythmic cycle and rippling jauntily to a satisfying conclusion.

While Curlew spends plenty of time working together to develop coherent themes, the real meat of Mercury lies in improvisation, and particularly the more open variety. These players are not at all afraid to take risks, which makes for exciting but demanding listening. (Those who prefer a more structured variety of fusion are best advised to look elsewhere.) There may be pensive moments scattered throughout the disc, but make no mistake: this is testosterone all the way. The Mercury rises high indeed.

Visit Cuneiform Records on the web.

Track Listing: Still; Funny Money; Leaven; Call; Late Date/Ther Is; Ludlow; Small Red Dance; Still Still; Song of New.

Personnel: George Cartwright: saxophones; Bruce Golden: drums and electrons; Chris Parker: keyboards and piano; Fred Chalenor: bass; Dean Granros: guitar.

Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Cuneiform Records | Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock


Shop

More Articles

Read Overseas V CD/LP/Track Review Overseas V
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 30, 2017
Read Behind The Mist CD/LP/Track Review Behind The Mist
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: March 30, 2017
Read Salão Brazil CD/LP/Track Review Salão Brazil
by John Sharpe
Published: March 30, 2017
Read Sedimental You CD/LP/Track Review Sedimental You
by John Sharpe
Published: March 30, 2017
Read Overseas V CD/LP/Track Review Overseas V
by Troy Collins
Published: March 30, 2017
Read Disappeared Behind the Sun CD/LP/Track Review Disappeared Behind the Sun
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 29, 2017
Read "Lovers" CD/LP/Track Review Lovers
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 23, 2016
Read "Preston Glasgow Lowe" CD/LP/Track Review Preston Glasgow Lowe
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 16, 2016
Read "The Joy of Being" CD/LP/Track Review The Joy of Being
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 1, 2017
Read "Swong" CD/LP/Track Review Swong
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 27, 2016
Read "June" CD/LP/Track Review June
by John Sharpe
Published: March 18, 2017
Read "Groovin'" CD/LP/Track Review Groovin'
by Jeff Winbush
Published: November 2, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!