145

Tomato Box: Talisman

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
From nowhere comes the radically creative music of Tomato Box. (Madison Wisconsin, nowhere?) Yes Virginia, Madison Wisconsin is nowhere close to New York geographically (it’s not too long of a drive from Chicago, just pack some coins for the automated toll booths and some Old Style beer). But Wisconsin’s Tomato Box is all over Downtown sonically. Pairing a front line of marimba and saxophone, drummer Michael Brenneis’ compositions are simultaneously poised and free. They rewrite Gershwin’s “Rhapsody In Blue” on the track “South Dakota” with the eased introductory lines painting a relaxed vision. Brenneis blurs the space between sticks and hands, locomoting with brushes and soft rolls as saxophonist John Keech explores the lyrics. Things always seem to return to Geoff Brady’s marimba, an instrument not foreign to jazz, just one not featured so prominently. His mallets-to-wood place a strong identifiable stamp on this recording, signaling this new music to be bigger than jazz, or to be more specific, theirs is jazz that includes larger worlds (read non-Western sounds). On “Shake The Apparatus” the band creates a humming backdrop (almost a digeridoo sound) for the percussion discussions of leader Brenneis. They follow that with a sort of Steve Reich tribute on “Pockets Of Distorted Time” with the mechanical beats of a Reichian machine that deconstructs as entropy takes over.

Saxophonist John Keech comes at you from the Davis Murray meets Arthur Blythe bag as the timekeeper, bassist Henry Boehm, rarely plays in straight time. The band favors the free principles of exploration as on “Continuity,” which wanders a bit for ideas before settling into a disheveled groove. But they are also fluent in the post-bop language, flexing their chopped suey on “The Syndicate” and the soul-fueled “Hidden Message In Jazz.”

Tomato Box reminds me of the transitions jazz has made over the years from the New Orleans bands to Satchmo’s solos, from danceable swing to mind walking bebop, from composed pieces to freedom. Each subsequent evolution carries the entirety of the past as prologue to the future. Tomato Box opts not for the cheese of dairyland or Wynton-wannabes but for a unique future. tomatobox.com

Track Listing: Born With Style; The Syndicate; South Dakota; Visions In Chartreuse; Shake The Apparatus; Pockets Of Distorted Time; Continuity; Hidden Messages In Jazz; Empty Pages.

Personnel: John Keech

| Record Label: Rattle Tick Buzz | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Pathways CD/LP/Track Review Pathways
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Landing CD/LP/Track Review Landing
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Words And Music CD/LP/Track Review Words And Music
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Faces CD/LP/Track Review Faces
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Nor Sea, nor Land, nor Salty Waves CD/LP/Track Review Nor Sea, nor Land, nor Salty Waves
by Duncan Heining
Published: April 30, 2017
Read Petite Afrique CD/LP/Track Review Petite Afrique
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 29, 2017
Read "Umbra" CD/LP/Track Review Umbra
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 31, 2016
Read "Columbia Years 1968-1969" CD/LP/Track Review Columbia Years 1968-1969
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: July 4, 2016
Read "The Organ Grinder" CD/LP/Track Review The Organ Grinder
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: April 1, 2017
Read "No Favorites!" CD/LP/Track Review No Favorites!
by Troy Collins
Published: November 27, 2016
Read "Rising Grace" CD/LP/Track Review Rising Grace
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 28, 2016
Read "The Duke Box 2" CD/LP/Track Review The Duke Box 2
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 14, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

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!