316

Sex Mob: Sexotica

By

Sign in to view read count
Sex Mob: Sexotica Sexotica showcases a unique band performing in an even more unique genre. Sex Mob, New York City's best band, according to a 2000 poll, has made a name for itself with jumping live shows and pop song-full setlists. Led by trumpeter Steven Bernstein, the quartet draws on the music of exotica pioneer Martin Denny for this sultry recording.

In addition to Bernstein, Sex Mob features altoist Briggan Krauss, bassist Tony Scherr and drummer Kenny Wollesen. The band turned to the production team of Good and Evil to give this record an electronically glossy Blue Series touch. Matthew Shipp's Good and Evil Sessions is probably the best record to date in Thirsty Ear's Blue Series, but Sexotica isn't far behind.

Taking a nod from the methods of jazz's founding fathers, Sex Mob made a name for itself by performing tunes penned by other musicians—ubiquitously called "covers in the parlance of our times. But Sexotica doesn't exactly feature cover songs. Denny's late-'50s ensembles inspire the overall sound.

Recording for Liberty Records, Denny pioneered the "exotica genre, beginning in the late '50s and continuing on into the '60s and early '70s. His group incorporated instruments and ideas from the Pacific Rim nations as well as Africa, churning out easy listening albums that dared to be different.

One of Denny's innovations, if you can call it that, was incorporating natural sounds into his compositions. Allegedly inspired by bullfrogs croaking in a nearby pond, percussionist Augie Colon would often imitate bird calls on stage while performing with Denny in Hawaii. In Sex Mob's music, these natural sounds (electronically produced in this case) give the pieces unique depth. This music is layered, some sounds creeping in from unseen backgrounds while Bernstein's signature slide trumpet cuts through the thick.

"Pygmy Suite opens with a signature head-bopping Good and Evil groove punctuated by Bernstein's trumpet blasts and some painful skat from the bandleader. When the next piece, "Martin Denny, first oozed from my speakers, I didn't know what to think: it's legitimately unlike anything I've ever heard before. The drums are electronic in nature, but tribal in feel. The trumpet drips with sensuality. This song is as intense and sexual a tune as I've ever heard. The music just begs to be touched. The horns cry for attention.

"Luvin Blume has a bass line that pounds you in the gut over and over, while "Quiet prowls the neon-lit floors of an oh-so-cool lounge, like Björk hanging with Goldie on viagra sipping vodka. "Dick Contino's Blues has a San Francisco poets vibe, just begging for Kerouac incarnate to read from his Book of Blues.

"Kid Rock Deluxe also seems to beg for lyrics, but of a different sort—Black Thought of Roots crew-fame could easily boogie down to this Philly groove. "7 Bars closes the record with an out-of-place and unnecessary Chili Peppers-type of funk rock.

Sex Mob prides itself on keeping jazz what it was intended to be—popular music, club music, dance music—and Sexotica is all these things.


Track Listing: Pygmy Suite; Martin Denny; Exotica; Livin Blume; Quiet; Oakland; Dick Contino's Blues; Kid Rock Deluxe; 7 Bars.

Personnel: Steven Bernstein: trumpt; Briggan Kraus: alto saxophone; Tony Scherr: bass; Kenny Wollesen: drumm; GoodandEvil: production.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Thirsty Ear Recordings | Style: Fringes of Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Northern Adventures CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Collider CD/LP/Track Review Collider
by John Sharpe
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Eos CD/LP/Track Review Eos
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 28, 2017
Read More Than This CD/LP/Track Review More Than This
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "And the Rhythm Serenaders" CD/LP/Track Review And the Rhythm Serenaders
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 22, 2016
Read "Porto da Madama" CD/LP/Track Review Porto da Madama
by Budd Kopman
Published: May 25, 2016
Read "Lockout Station" CD/LP/Track Review Lockout Station
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 1, 2017
Read "Up and Coming" CD/LP/Track Review Up and Coming
by John Kelman
Published: January 6, 2017
Read "Do Not Disturb" CD/LP/Track Review Do Not Disturb
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 26, 2016
Read "Some Other Time: The Lost Session From the Black Forest" CD/LP/Track Review Some Other Time: The Lost Session From the Black Forest
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 27, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

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!