132

Guinea Pig: Out of Town

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Guinea Pig: Out of Town Listening to Guinea Pig is a bit like watching a huge pot of water boil. Bubbles form and rise through the medium in unpredictable ways on Out of Town. These pieces range from the taciturn simmer of "The Communique" to the sheer roiling energy of "Hitchcockville." Saxophonist Rent Romus plays a central role here in determining where the music heads, although nominally these tunes all receive joint credit to the quartet as a whole. The "out" voyages of the saxophones (Romus and Tony Passarell) serve as curious counterpoint to the often "in" playing of the rhythm section (cellist Doug Carroll and drummer Drew Gardner). Just as often as not, the drummer and cellist set up percolating grooves: from a cool, jaunty strut to heavy, sweaty funk. During quieter moments, they lapse into less conventional roles, offering subtle melody and color.

"Red Leather Lounge," the highlight of the record, assumes a loose funk groove right away, and the horns alternately blow in synchrony to enforce the backbeat or in wild counterpoint to oppose it. (The liner notes offer a curious tale of a red sofa with magical powers. You should definitely spend some time reading them: they're not the average everyday notes, that's for sure.) But whatever the source of the inspiration in performance, it's a wondrous tug- of-war that never ceases. Rent Romus actively refuses to be boxed in or classified. And in this setting (along with Passarell, to be sure), he's a high-intensity energy emitter steering Guinea Pig forward. The rhythm section on Out of Town might be a diesel truck, but these two reed players are wild and cantankerous behind the wheel. The fact that this disc was recorded live at the Hotel Utah in San Francisco only helps, because the propulsive effect of the audience is readily palpable.

Out of Town bears a lot of similarities to the two final NRG Ensemble records, where Ken Vandermark stepped in to replace the late Hal Russell. It consciously toys with boundaries, defining them and then post-haste ripping them to shreds. But when the machine builds up enough momentum, there's no stopping it. During moments of transition or acceleration, these players push and pull the music in every direction. Sometimes the pot barely simmers, and sometimes it boils over. But no one will ever fairly accuse Guinea Pig of being predictable. Very highly recommended.

Visit Edgetone Records on the web.


Track Listing: Dark Highway; Hitchcockville; Red Leather Lounge; The Communique; Out of Town.

Personnel: Doug Carroll: electric cello; Drew Gardner: drums; Tony Passarell: baritone, tenor, and soprano saxophones, pocket trumpet; Rent Romus: alto and soprano saxophones, flute.

| Record Label: Edge Tone Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Books On Tape, Vol. 2 - Standard Edition" CD/LP/Track Review Books On Tape, Vol. 2 - Standard Edition
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 17, 2016
Read "When You Wish Upon a Star" CD/LP/Track Review When You Wish Upon a Star
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 19, 2016
Read "Lost at Last" CD/LP/Track Review Lost at Last
by Geno Thackara
Published: November 10, 2016
Read "Shapes" CD/LP/Track Review Shapes
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 6, 2016
Read "Paco and John - Live at Montreux 1987" CD/LP/Track Review Paco and John - Live at Montreux 1987
by John Kelman
Published: August 29, 2016
Read "Cosmic Adventure" CD/LP/Track Review Cosmic Adventure
by James Nadal
Published: August 16, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

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!

Buy it!