275

Club d'Elf: Now I Understand

Chris M. Slawecki By

Sign in to view read count
About eight years ago, composer/bassist Mike Rivard began leading a "floating residency in Cambridge, Massachusetts, organized around the rhythm section, which pulsed behind a kaleidoscope of horn, keyboard, percussion and guitar players. After seven live releases, Rivard has finally shepherded his "ever-changing performance ensemble into its first studio album.

No fewer than 25 musicians participate in the workshop, happily hammering around the core "Elves : Rivard on basses and sintir, a three-stringed bass lute from Morocco; drummer Erik Kerr; turntablist Mister Rourke; and Brahim Fribgane on percussion, oud and dumbek.

Miles Davis most likely would have laughed his ass off, but in the best way, at Now I Understand as a bastard child of Bitches Brew. Bitches Brew experimented with essential elements of modern jazz, rock and funk, in new ways, for new purposes; Now I Understand does essentially the same thing—experiment and improvise—but instead uses progressive rock, hip-hop and indigenous music as its raw material. Rivard explains that although many of the band are trained musicians and have come from the jazz tradition, they're also informed by the aesthetic of DJ culture.

Their exotic journey begins with "Bass Beat Box, a Club staple built up from Rivard's ascending bass scale and hammered down by two drummers (Jay Hilt plays "slow with Kerr on "fast drums). Electronic effects polish the drums to sound robotic, metallic—the pounding corrosive sound of futuristic funk.

A fluffy sound cloud ("Quilty ) melts into "Vishnu Dub, strikingly colored by Fribgane's oud and dumbek while guitarists Gerry Leonard and Duke Levine explore outer galaxies of sound. In the cool shadow of Jenifer Jackson's doe-eyed vocal, "A Toy For A Boy sounds like lost Syd Barrett, an oddly peaceful haven from the aggressive, relentless experimentation that follows in "Wet Bones (extended), an interstellar reggae-dub cryptogram that builds outward in layers, and the electro-ethnic tour de force "Visions Of Kali.

An octet that turns on guitarist Reeves Gabrels, keyboardist John Medeski and turntablist DJ Logic paints a portrait in sound for the title track, an electronic thrust into the blackest heart of modern darkness.

Track Listing: Introduction; Bass Beatbox; Hungry Ghosts; Quilty; Vishnu Dub; A Toy For A Boy; Luminous Things; What Would C T Hulhu Do? Now I Understand; And Shadow Saw The Gods; Wet Bones (Extended); Vision Of Kali; Just Kiddin'.

Personnel: Peter Adams; Alan Chase; DJ C; DJ Lock; DJ Axel Foley; Jere Faison; Brahim Fribgane; Reeves Gabrels; Tom Hall; Jay Hilt; Jenifer Jackson; Erik Kerr; Jerry Leake; Gerry Leonard; Duke Levine; Alain Mallet; Billy Martin; Mat Maneri; John Medeski; Mister Rourke; Mike Rivard; Randy Roos; Joel Springer; Paul Stiller; Dave Tronzo.

Title: Now I Understand | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Accurate Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Alto Gusto CD/LP/Track Review Alto Gusto
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 20, 2017
Read Flow CD/LP/Track Review Flow
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: November 20, 2017
Read Originals For the Originals CD/LP/Track Review Originals For the Originals
by Paul Rauch
Published: November 20, 2017
Read Killing Bugs CD/LP/Track Review Killing Bugs
by Kevin Press
Published: November 20, 2017
Read The Way of It CD/LP/Track Review The Way of It
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 19, 2017
Read Tag Book CD/LP/Track Review Tag Book
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: November 19, 2017
Read "The Long Road" CD/LP/Track Review The Long Road
by Troy Collins
Published: November 20, 2016
Read "Stratus" CD/LP/Track Review Stratus
by Edward Blanco
Published: August 11, 2017
Read "Alchemist" CD/LP/Track Review Alchemist
by Roger Farbey
Published: February 1, 2017
Read "April" CD/LP/Track Review April
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 26, 2017
Read "Potsdamer Platz" CD/LP/Track Review Potsdamer Platz
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: February 3, 2017
Read "Wild Lines: Improvising Emily Dickinson" CD/LP/Track Review Wild Lines: Improvising Emily Dickinson
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 31, 2017

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!

Please support out sponsor