All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.
Charming HostessJewlia Eisenberg with Marika Hughes and Cynthia Taylorsounds like a Phil Spector '60s girl group that decided to fire the famed producer, telling him on the way out the door, "So long, pal, we got some ideas of our own." Their ideas, on Sarajevo Blues, are in the socially concious/protest vein; they make their music with handclaps and sweet harmonies, vocal percussion, sex-breath, a beatbox, cello, and violin, telling the story of war in Sarajevo, working with the text by Bosnian poet Sem Mehmedinovic to create an upbeat and beautiful sound.
Many of the themes explored here are heavy, but in the mode of Phil Ochs'1ate-1960s hit "Outside of a Small Circle of Friends" or Country Joe's "Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die Rag," Charming Hostessa self-described "Nerdy-sexy-commie-girlie band"juxtaposes thematically weighty issues with bright, exuberant sounds, telling tales of horror with a life-affirming sound that thumbs its nose at the venal stupidity of those who wage war.
"Death Is A Job"a hit record for a new millenniumis the highlight for this listener, a story of crossing an intersection to avoid a sniper's bullet and running into a war photographer, a tale told with doo-wop vocals backed by a beatbox, a tight rhythm full of glorious girl group energy.
If it all sounds like a weighty listengrenades and blood washed away by rain, bullets flyingthe disc can enjoyed on musical terms alone. Moments like the cello/bass interplay behind the vocals on "Zenica Blues" are heaven, as are the vocal harmonies throughout, along with the pure feminine energy of it all.
An informed source tells me Charming Hostess is quite something in a live setting. They're quite something on disc, too.
Track Listing: Viva Orduenya, Si Veriash La Rana, War, The Tunnel, Imam Bey's Mosque, Exodus, Expulsion, What Will You Remember, Grbavica, Death Is A Job, A Relatively Calm Day, Zenica Blues, Open Dialogue, Adam, Aish Ye K'dish
Personnel: Jewlia Eisenberg--voice, harmonium; Marika Hughes--voice, cello; Cynthia Taylor--voice; with special guests: Wesley Anderson, Juliet Lee--drums; Tim Barsky--beatbox; Devin Hoff--double bass; Dan Rathbunbass; Carla Kihlstedt--violin; Nils Frykdahl--nylon oud, voice; Ishay Sommer--guitars, electronics; Roy Yarkoni--keyboards; Yoav Klein--bassoons
Year Released: 2005
| Record Label: Tzadik
| Style: Vocal
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me. If we don't run a review, Alligator Records is going to stop servicing us.
Night Flight opened up a whole new world for me--the blues led me, inevitably, to Basie, who led to Duke, who led to Mingus, who led to Miles, who led to ...