All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

415

Harmonious Wail: Resist Temptation

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Django Reinhardt is often overlooked as one of the seminal figures in jazz. Jazz, a uniquely American art, became international in the hands of Reinhardt and his partner in crime, French violinist Stephane Grappelli. Reinhardt's jazz was colorful, natural, and spontaneous. As a trend setter, Reinhardt gave birth to many "gypsy jazz" combos, one of the best being the quartet, Harmonious Wail.

When Harmonious Wail was first reviewed on this website, with their release Gypsy Swing (Naxos World, 2003), the Django connection was mentioned as they were playing a mostly Django repertoire, including many of the usual suspects: "Sheik of Araby," "St. Louis Blues" and "Limehouse Blues" among them.

So how has Resist Temptation evolved Harmonious Wail's sound since then? A lot. The group has stepped off of the edge with no net, taking on the disparate musics of Tom Waits ("You Can Never Hold Back Spring"), The Velvet Underground ("Who Loves the Sun"), Steely Dan ("Home at Last"), and The Band ("Unfaithful Servant"). If that is not enough, Wail strolls through Spencer William's 1917 "Tishomingo Blues" in a most authentically organic fashion.

Added to these ingenious covers are the group's originals. "Lung Shan Temple Chant" is a wonderfully quirky eutectoid of music from the Far East and gypsy jazz. Wail captures the open-ended melody of China in a Western music confine and then improvises on it; the swirl of styles and genres is aurally intoxicating. The stop-time romp "Posh de Wash" is reprised from the band's first recording, Airborne (Bufflehead, 1993). "Posh" sports a sinewy harmonica solo from Howard Levy over a blues jag.

Of the covers, Steely Dan's "Home at Last" is the most striking as it comes in an unexpectedly delightful package. The once smoothly suave studio confection is rendered as a dark, Bluegrass tome, a transmogrification well effected. The Band's beautiful ballad of biblical Americana, "Unfaithful Servant," is delicately handled, providing a resigned sigh to Rick Danko's last prayer of a dying man. Resist Temptation is an excellent acoustic music recital by experts in the field.


Track Listing: Joie de Vivre; I like to Feel My Bones; Who Loves the Sun; Lung Shan Temple Chant; Only the Young; Posh de Wash; Tishomingo Blues; Home at Last; Unfaithful Servant; You Can Never Hold Back Spring.

Personnel: Maggie Delaney-Potthoff: vocals, percussion; Sims Delaney-Potthoff: mandolin, vocals; Tom Waselchuk: acoustic guitar, vocals; John Christensen: upright bass.

Title: Resist Temptation | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Range Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Things That Go

Things That Go

Harmonious Wail
Bohemian Tango

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Bohemian Tango

Bohemian Tango

Bufflehead Recordings
2013

buy
Resist Temptation

Resist Temptation

Range Records
2008

buy

Related Articles

Read Subtle Disguise CD/LP/Track Review
Subtle Disguise
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 18, 2018
Read Introverted Cultures CD/LP/Track Review
Introverted Cultures
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 18, 2018
Read Flyway CD/LP/Track Review
Flyway
by Geannine Reid
Published: October 18, 2018
Read Crime Zone CD/LP/Track Review
Crime Zone
by Chris Mosey
Published: October 18, 2018
Read Begin the Agora CD/LP/Track Review
Begin the Agora
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 17, 2018
Read Time Like This CD/LP/Track Review
Time Like This
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 17, 2018
Read "Spavati, Mozda Sanjati" CD/LP/Track Review Spavati, Mozda Sanjati
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: November 19, 2017
Read "Sorrows & Triumphs" CD/LP/Track Review Sorrows & Triumphs
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: August 14, 2018
Read "If You Really Want" CD/LP/Track Review If You Really Want
by Chris Mosey
Published: September 12, 2018
Read "The Unrecorded Fox" CD/LP/Track Review The Unrecorded Fox
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 3, 2018
Read "Země" CD/LP/Track Review Země
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: March 12, 2018
Read "Trollskogen" CD/LP/Track Review Trollskogen
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: December 22, 2017