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For all practical purposes, multi-instrumentalist Adam Pierce is Mice Parade. Pierce plays drums, guitars, organs, vibes, and cheng. Using studio tools, he blends all these sounds together to craft groovy, percolating textures. His third disc under the Mice Parade moniker, Mokoondi, gains extra personality through the efforts of additional musicians on saxophone, vibes, violin, and voice. However, it's Pierce's personal vision which organizes the music and sets the tone. Multiply-overdubbed performances form a thick, pulsing collage of soundalways moving forward, but never in a hurry to get there. The combination of fluid improvisation with studio textures helps define Mokoondi as post-rock, though one has the sense that Pierce is not interested in definitions. His work on the cheng (a Chinese harp akin to a zither), for example, eludes categorization. At times percussive, at others melodic, he artfully stretches the possibilities (and the strings) of this unusual instrument.
Notably, Mice Parade defies the most common pitfall associated with studio-enhanced improvisation: perfectionism. Pierce prefers to take the notes as they come, building them into an organic wholerather than getting everything "just right." As a result, Mokoondi has an authentic, home-made flavor. One can hear the personal character of each cymbal hit or pluck of the chengmicrotonal variation, attack, and all. The vocals are not always in perfect tune, but it doesn't really matter. The groove maintains over-riding authority on Mokoondi, though all the parts that fit together to form it retain their own personal character. Occasional improvised drum duets offer a hint at the possibilities available to the expanded Mice Parade in live performance, where post-rock drumming master Doug Scharin joins forces with Pierce to deliver polyrhythmic energy.
Track Listing: Open Air Dance; Into the Freedom World; Circle 1; Pursuant to the Vibe; Mokoondi; Ramda's Focus; Circle 2; The Castaway Team; Man on the Beach in Brasil.
Personnel: Adam Pierce: drums, cheng, moog, rhodes, guitars, synth, vibes, saxophone, cymbalom, dulcimer, marimbas; Carlo Cennamo: saxophone; Dorothea Tachler: violin, voice; Doug Scharin: drum and guitar loops; Marc Wolf: guitar; Dylan Cristy: vibes; Herman Wright: saxophone; Helen Ann Shea: gourd rattle, guitar; Tyler Pistilli: vibes.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.