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The “W.O.O Direct” record label features a plethora of creative musicians emanating from the New York City area. The following signifies two recently issued productions by artists who seemingly share similar aspirations, while frequently performing as micro-collectives via live performances and recordings.
The members of the “Friends of Mescalito,” derive influences from Frank Zappa, Sun Ra, “Soft Machine”, Captain Beefheart and others. On its third release, the trio (along with a little help from their friends) melds psychedelic guitar parts and vocals with a huge wall of sound. Comparisons? Well, on this outing – visions of early “Pink Floyd” aligning with “Sonic Youth” come to mind. However, the band conveys a sound and style that might elicit notions of one of those now infamous acid-rock style outdoor fests. Yet, this group effectively captures the spirit of rock exploration via the obligatory incorporation of electric sitars, crunching rhythms and oscillating backbeats. On the piece titled “Dream from Poon Hill,” guitarist/vocalist, Mr. Starry Night sounds as though his mic was placed underwater in concert with a background of fuzz induced crunch chords and droning treatments. All in good fun, we might add. Essentially, this is an entertaining listen, whereas the band also injects melodious interludes and tongue-in-cheek lyrics into the grand scheme of things. Otherwise, the space rock/avant-garde troupe known as “World of Tomorrow,” incorporates horns into its improvisational-based itinerary. With this effort, saxophonist, Bonnie Kane spearheads a quintet, also featuring drummer/trumpeter, Cliff Ferdon of the “Friends of Mescalito.” On their third release, the band’s brash and somewhat homogenous approach to free improv and hard rock suffers from an irredeemable homegrown live recording. Hence, it took quite a bit of patience and fortitude to stagger through the entire set. Unfortunately, the soloists and rhythm section surface as one expansive blur amid much distortion and background noise, although budgetary considerations might have loomed as the determining force here.
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.