This quintet gets out of the gate with a ballsy no-nonsense mode of operations. San Francisco Bay Area saxophonist Mitch Marcus helps steer the way for his ensemble's progressive-jazz/fuzoid attack with the agility and timeliness of a rapid-response unit. Not for the squeamish, the preponderance of these works consist of snaky dual-sax choruses and blitzing guitar unison runs atop pulsating rhythms. Electric guitarist Michael Abraham adds a significant edge here via his rangy, distortion-drenched licks as the band uses space to its advantage.
On "Last Mourning, they generate a loose groove vibe, sparked by Marcus and fellow saxophonist Sylvain Carton. It's hot and nasty all-right, but bassist George Ban-Weiss tempers the flow some, during his extended solo, where the fireworks reemerge due to Abraham's wily, super-speed solo. In other regions of this outing, the quintet touches on free-bop along with little big-band like horn arrangements, and then toss in a few shades of Mingus for good measure. No doubt, Marcus and Carton loom as a formidable twin-sax attack. And with "G.C. they render a bump-and-grind motif, spiced-up by Abraham's close-handed chord progressions and harmonics.
Overall, The Special looms as one of the unanticipated surprises of 2007. In effect, this unit enjoys residing in the fast lane amid more than just a few, rapidly-accelerating turns and shifts in momentum.
Track Listing: Paisano; Last Mourning; Inditranego; G.C.; Dave's Castle; Not Then, But Now; The Joey Rubber Special.
Personnel: Mitch Marcus: tenor saxophone; Sylvain Carton: alto & soprano saxophone; George Ban-Weiss: bass; Ches Smith: drums; Mike Abraham: guitar
I was first exposed to jazz as a baby. When I was a child, my parents regularly played classic jazz, i.e., Fitzgerald, Hawkins, Holiday, Davis, Coltrane, Monk, Montgomery, Silver, etc. I vividly remember sitting in front of the stereo as a kid, rocking back and forth to jazz, so the music is embedded in me
I was first exposed to jazz as a baby. When I was a child, my parents regularly played classic jazz, i.e., Fitzgerald, Hawkins, Holiday, Davis, Coltrane, Monk, Montgomery, Silver, etc. I vividly remember sitting in front of the stereo as a kid, rocking back and forth to jazz, so the music is embedded in me. As a life-long jazz lover, I eventually became a jazz educator and producer/host of a very popular jazz radio program in Los Angeles, California.
I love jazz because it is so free. I can think, feel, and dream to jazz, and it allows my mind to flow and expand, musically and otherwise. I also love jazz because it, much like other forms of music, allows opportunities to bring people from all walks of life together. What makes jazz more significant to me, though, is its historical significance; that is, how jazz served, in part, as a method of bringing communities together, a cultural/social/spiritual conduit.