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Mac Gollehon: The End is the Beginning


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Mac Gollehon: The End is the Beginning
From the opening moments of "As Your World Burns," Mac Gollehon's music embraces not simply the underground, but the underside. This collection of fleeting, gripping brass and dense atmosphere amounts to the lost score for the '70s-'80s noir film we've longed for, as nasty in its perfection as was the Manhattan of those years. Gollehon's trumpet soars above the fray, offering a mind's eye view of urban decay, violent crime, and rooftop fisticuffs in the cold light of day or through the endless continuum of a midnight alley.

If The End is the Beginning functions as a set of soundtrack cues, the pictures here are all evocative, and furtively so. Think The French Connection, rolled into Taxi Driver and Shaft by way of The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3, with Basic Instinct and Jacob's Ladder in the mix, and you might have an inkling.

Gollehon has long been a first-call session and touring musician for artists as diverse as David Bowie, Blondie, James Chance, Buddy Rich, Madonna, Lester Bowie's Brass Fantasy, Nile Rogers, Duran Duran and Grace Jones. There were felled plans, too, for a band with Brian Eno, David Bowie and Adrian Belew (imagine this!), but the multi- instrumentalist busied himself between dates with a wide variety of downtown jazz and experimental ensembles, and Latin jazz projects including the Hilton Ruiz's band and his own Hispanic Mechanics. He has also been heard within the avant excursions of Gridfailure. Such influences, and far more, morphed into these sessions in which Gollehon-tracked layers horns (trumpets, cornet, various saxophones), keyboards, guitar, bass and drums, too. The result is surely his strongest work to date. Fans of his work with Lester Bowie will welcome "Bronx Motor Inn," but this also carries the embers of both Angelo Badalamenti 's David Lynch scores and Don Cherry's passionate New York Eye and Ear Control's (OST,1966) opening theme.

A central point is "Turn It Up, Motherfucker, Go" which uses manipulated samples of Gollehon's voice before erupting into a turmoil- driven double-time free jazz-cum-electro-funk groove and powerfully moving, echoey metallic concussions. More thorough Cinema Verite visions are alive here as well, with the captured bits of conversation, passing fire engines and traffic tie-ups heard in several cuts, but vitally so in "Sackett Street Racket" and "Dead Protégé." Is that a street preacher heard just beneath free jazz trumpet in the latter piece? Seems like 42nd Street back in the day, but then a stumbling, reverb-laden guitar is heard feeding blues changes to Gollehon as he brings in the gospel and rural blues of his Virginia childhood. The former piece, however, opens with urgent blackout riot reports for a piece that will be an utter treat when played live: Gollehon's signature lonesome trumpet with searing electric guitar, groaning bass, and pianistics reminiscent of Keith Tippet (think King Crimson's "Cat Food") against blurred, frenetic drumming. The overall effect is electric Miles; fitting as it was Davis who nicknamed Gollehon "Chops."

This influence reflects, also, into "Revenge for Brooklyn" via Gollehon's muted trumpet, and the titular cut featuring a throbbing pulsation at front and jarring harmonies in the brass "ensemble." One hears the shadow of Thelonious Monk on a 52nd Street long lost to time. But The End is the Beginning in its entirety seems to have been raised in darkness, much like the noir genre itself. The bitter grey imagery birthed by Hammett, Woolrich, Cain and Chandler, in the hands of Mac Gollehon, is a grim cityscape they hadn't imagined, one bereft of conscience. It is the bold face of the underworld carries this collection.

Track Listing

As Your World Burns; Enigma; Neon and Gunpowder; Passion for Wrath; Revenge for Brooklyn; Dead Protégé; Bronx Motor Inn; Turn It Up Motherfucker Go; Sackett Street Racket; The End is the Beginning.


Mac Gollehon
Additional Instrumentation

Mac Gollehon: trumpet, cornet, saxophones, keyboards, guitar, bass, drums, arrangements

Album information

Title: The End is the Beginning | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Nefarious Industries

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