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From the potent opening cut of The Ecstasy of Perfect Recognition, it's clear that Mambo Mantis stands outside of any conventional definition. "Life On Mars, with its blistering, pardon, extreme guitar by Will Redmond blazing above drummer Ray Sage's thrashing, brings to mind the intense duet of John Coltrane and Rashied Ali on Interstellar Space (which actually featured a cut entitled "Mars ).
The songs collected here are short, quick, effective punches to the gut. "Sox 1 is a sax wail-fest, with Bonnie Kane and Blaise Siwula coming out of each corner over Sage's relentless hammering and Redmond's foreboding bass line. "Mr. Science continues the trend of passionate howling, then settles into something resembling a linear form, almost ballad-like. "Rock is the disc's epic, with forays into metallic rock 'n' roll, as the title suggests, and the kind of sax blowing one might find in a free jazz conclave.
Kane has the spotlight on "Sox 2. Electronic effects shadow her as she builds the opening statement, then the rest of the band jumps in for a mind-altering free-for-all. "Peppers and Onions is another sax and drums throwdown, and "Bleed is another mercurial, high-octane jazz/rock hybrid. "Death By Boondah serves as the disc's passionate closing statement, a bookend to "Life on Mars.
The kind of musicality this disc offers won't appeal to listeners who prefer their jazz neither shaken nor stirred. The adventurous music lover however, will be challenged and rewarded by what Mambo Mantis puts down. Just drop your preconceptions at the door and you'll be fine.
Track Listing: Life On Mars; Sox1; Mr. Science; Rock; Sox2; Peppers & Onions; Bleed; Death By Boondah
Personnel: Bonnie Kane--sax, flute, efx; Blaise Siwula--saxophones; Ray Sage--Drums; Will Redmond--extreme guitar
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.