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Just like today’s DJs and rappers, Jim Connolly’s disc opens with the crackle of a diamond needle on vinyl. The rappers use it to signify authenticity; Connolly employs scratchy sounds to set the scene, as in a play. Maybe it’s Musicman, or Oklahoma. A closer inspection reveals this play to be closer to a Jim Jarmusch or Joel and Ethan Cohen production. His Gove County Philharmonic is a chamber circus band or maybe a positive argument for the evolutionary effects of isolated island biogeography.
The drummer-less ensemble has a very American sound, which has descended from Aaron Copeland to Gil Evans to Tom Waits. Employing waltzes, polkas, and sentimentalized piano, the music comes from the countryside, a place dense with time. Nothing hurried, nothing flashy is Connolly’s motto. But what many a city dweller mistakes for simplicity is actually brilliance. The ensemble of strings over accordion, piano, and trumpet maybe accounts for the title of the disc. Some shyster has scammed our small Gove County into advancing the Circus’ deposit and as our little Philharmonic plays, the caravan train bypasses our assembled population.
Recorded for trumpeter Jeff Kaiser’s pfMentum label, this very orchestrated music sits beside Nina Rota and Ennio Morricone soundtracks. Kaiser, a leader of the West Coast avant-garde has recorded with Vinny Golia, Eugene Chadbourne, and Michael Vlatkovich. His presence draws experimental fans to this sweet and troubled music. It’s safe to say this disc will remain in heavy rotation on my disc changer for quite some time.
Track List:Yes, I’ve Been To Gove; House Of Cards; Tar Dance; Slocum Goes Slow; Pinocchio; For Maggie; The Circus Doesn’t Stop At Gove; 1,000 MPH Train Wreck.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.