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.

Title: Out of Town | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Edge Tone Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Wake Up Call CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 27, 2017
Read The Late Trane CD/LP/Track Review The Late Trane
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read "Swiss Radio Days, Vol. 43 - Zurich 1950" CD/LP/Track Review Swiss Radio Days, Vol. 43 - Zurich 1950
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 12, 2017
Read "Omío" CD/LP/Track Review Omío
by James Nadal
Published: August 31, 2016
Read "Echoes Of Europe" CD/LP/Track Review Echoes Of Europe
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 26, 2017
Read "Dyad Plays Jazz Arias" CD/LP/Track Review Dyad Plays Jazz Arias
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 12, 2016
Read "Araminta" CD/LP/Track Review Araminta
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 17, 2017
Read "New Helsinki" CD/LP/Track Review New Helsinki
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 8, 2017

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.