All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

434

Sex Mob: Sex Mob Meets Medeski

Lyn Horton By

Sign in to view read count
The two-minute "Mob Rule Invocation," which starts Sex Mob Meets Medeski, is enough to turn the tables on conventional jazz quintet genre, pointing the way to bridge the gap between the melodic and music that is so squarely and pristinely raucous that its intention is measurable in the fun the musicians are clearly having.

Recorded live at the Willisau Jazz Festival in 2006, this album reaches across a spectrum from spontaneous improvisation to pieces from Duke Ellington and Count Basie, pop artist Prince and 007 film composer John Barry. The original Sex Mob quartet of drummer Kenny Wollesen, bassist Tony Scherr, slide trumpeter Steven Bernstein and alto saxophonist Briggan Krauss, joined by Medeski, Martin & Wood on organ, stretches content to the limits and sheds new light on the familiar.

No instrumentalist ignores his place in the field; in fact, each carves his own line so deeply that subtlety is an unsuitable word to assign to the music produced, even if it is in ballad mode ("This Never Happened to the Other Guy," "This Never Happened Part 2").

The musicians are unstoppable. Once the music opens up ("Mob Rule 1") through a huge crescendo, develops slowly and methodically only to resurge in an orderly rowdiness ("Black and Tan Fantasy"), an overall pattern seems to be established. The overt changes in tempo and instrument application are the keys to transforming the music.

Bernstein and Krauss are in this for the number of times that they can coincide harmonically; providing so much joy, humor and celebration that it's impossible to imagine splitting them up musically. Medeski's organ playing is without doubt a means to extenuate the horn lines ("Mob Rule 2/Little Liza Jane") or paradoxically to erase a prevailing edge by splaying and squeezing the mechanical chords ("Sign of the Times," "Down on the Farm"). His soloing pushes the role of the organ into unexpected places.

The album is divided into three suites; the movement through each is seamless and orchestral, touching a range of tempos and volume and character changes from cacophonous to boisterous to songful. Bernstein's trumpet preaches a melodramatic intro which folds into Krauss' alto fluttering, only to unite within the same line ("Mob Rule 3"), the organ supporting them the whole way sometimes ominously ("Odd Job"), at other times mellifluously ("This Never Happened, Part 2," "Blue and Sentimental") or with profound unadulterated statements ("Kenny Supreme").

No less involved in blending complexity and simplification within the musical conversation are the bass and drums. Scherr nails solo pizzicatos ("Blue and Sentimental," "Odd Job") and never fades from the instrumental mix ("You Only Live Twice"). Wollesen pulls together the instrumental information with his own discrete intense rounds on the drum set ("Kenny Supreme," "You Only Live Twice"). His work on the tympanis in "Odd Job" demonstrates the exaggeration with which the record blooms.

This record summarizes a great ride with a hard-driving nearly rock sensibility that does nothing but cause sweat and a fabulous feel-good vibe.


Track Listing: Mob Rule Invocation; Mob Rule 1; Black and Tan Fantasy; Mob Rule 2/Little Liza Jane; Sign O The Times; Down On The Farm; This Never Happened to the Other Guy; Mob Rule 3; This Never Happened Part 2; Blue and Sentimental; Kenny Supreme; Darling Nikki; Odd Job; You Only Live Twice; Mob Rule 4; Artie Shaw.

Personnel: Kenny Wollesen: drums and percussion; Tony Scherr: bass; Steven Bernstein: slide trumpet; Briggan Krauss: alto saxophone; John Medeski: organ.

Title: Sex Mob Meets Medeski | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Thirsty Ear Recordings

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Exotique

Exotique

Sexmob
Sexotica

In Pictures
CD/LP/Track Review
Best of / Year End
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Cultural Capital

Cultural Capital

Rex Records
2017

buy
Cinema, Circus & Spaghetti (Sex Mob Plays Fellini: The Music of Nino...

Cinema, Circus &...

Royal Potato Family
2013

buy
 

Live In Willisau 2006

Knitting Factory Works
2009

buy
Sex Mob Meets Medeski

Sex Mob Meets Medeski

Thirsty Ear Recordings
2009

buy
Sexotica

Sexotica

Thirsty Ear Recordings
2006

buy
Dime Grind Palace

Dime Grind Palace

Knitting Factory Works
2003

buy

Related Articles

Read Always Forward CD/LP/Track Review
Always Forward
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 15, 2018
Read The Music of Richard Whiting CD/LP/Track Review
The Music of Richard Whiting
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 15, 2018
Read Barefoot Dances and Other Visions CD/LP/Track Review
Barefoot Dances and Other Visions
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 15, 2018
Read Twinscapes Vol. 2: A Modern Approach To The Dancefloor CD/LP/Track Review
Twinscapes Vol. 2: A Modern Approach To The Dancefloor
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 15, 2018
Read Talking with Charlie - An Imaginary Talk with Charlie Parker CD/LP/Track Review
Talking with Charlie - An Imaginary Talk with Charlie Parker
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 15, 2018
Read The Gene Krupa Quartet: Live 1966! CD/LP/Track Review
The Gene Krupa Quartet: Live 1966!
by Richard J Salvucci
Published: November 15, 2018
Read "Solo Contra" CD/LP/Track Review Solo Contra
by Daniel Barbiero
Published: February 24, 2018
Read "Live At The  Century City Playhouse – Los Angeles, 1979" CD/LP/Track Review Live At The Century City Playhouse – Los Angeles,...
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 27, 2018
Read "Helix" CD/LP/Track Review Helix
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 4, 2018
Read "From Beyond" CD/LP/Track Review From Beyond
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: March 16, 2018
Read "Vanished Gardens" CD/LP/Track Review Vanished Gardens
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 10, 2018
Read "Walk The Walk" CD/LP/Track Review Walk The Walk
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: June 21, 2018