Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

3

Thiefs: Thiefs

Mark F. Turner By

Sign in to view read count
What might seem like a grammatical gaffe in the self-titled debut of Thiefs is not an oversight. What's more striking is the music from the forward-thinking trio of Guillermo E. Brown, bassist Keith Witty, and saxophonist Christophe Panzani; a group whose combined resumes include work with Carla Bley Big Band, French hip-hop outfit Hocus Pocus, Vijay Iyer and the late David S. Ware.

The project was created by the sponsorship of a French American Jazz Exchange grant, a joint program of FACE (French American Cultural Exchange) and the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation. The fruit of the labor is palpable—a release that is appealing to a variety of persuasions but not easily categorized. The seminally-minded artists and producers create an electro-acoustic atmosphere of stimulating themes that encompasses everything from sweaty drum-n-bass grooves in the opening track to the exploration of avant-garde pop and jazz in "Olive Island."

This cauldron of processed and real sounds is seamlessly blended into wiry compositions of jazz, pop and electronica as the trio exploits the use of technological tools while displaying their instrumental chops. The vortex of "Hurricane Daze" swirls samples, loops, and varied noises into a gritty dance rhythm, whereas "Sans Titre (Huile Sur Toile)" is a rousing acoustic track with impressive work from French accordionist Vincent Peirani. The lines are at times blurred but the music always grooves.

The vocal selections, where Brown proves a talented and empathetic singer, make the set even more intriguing by artfully balancing music with unconventional lyrics and edginess in "The World Without Us" and the poignant "Daybaby" which Witty wrote on the day he and his wife confirmed that a baby was on the way. "TWWU (Postlude)" evokes a trippy 1970's Funkadelic and Björk-ish vibe reminiscent of Brown's eclectic pop band/alter-ego—Pegasus Warning.

The trio's statement that "THIEFS is a grammatically incoherent jazz bastardization" is true to form and results in an enjoyable debut that is both exploratory and modernistic.

Track Listing: Doute/s; All Day; DayBaby; The Actual Neef; Olive Island; Hurricane Daze; Sans Titre (Huile Sur Toile); The World Without Us; TWWU (Postlude); Play Me At Night.

Personnel: Christophe Panzani: saxophone, electronics; Keith Witty: bass, electronics; Guillermo E Brown: drums, voice, electronics; Shoko Nagai: keyboards (5,8,9); Vincent Peirani: accordion (7).

Title: Thiefs | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Melanine Harmonique Recordings

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Album Reviews
Read more articles
Thiefs

Thiefs

Melanine Harmonique Recordings
2013

buy

Related Articles

Read School of Fish Album Reviews
School of Fish
By Dan McClenaghan
March 23, 2019
Read Blood Album Reviews
Blood
By John Sharpe
March 23, 2019
Read Around Again: The Music Of Carla Bley Album Reviews
Around Again: The Music Of Carla Bley
By Jerome Wilson
March 23, 2019
Read Hydro 2 Album Reviews
Hydro 2
By Mark Corroto
March 23, 2019
Read Old School Revolution Album Reviews
Old School Revolution
By Chris M. Slawecki
March 23, 2019
Read Cuando Sea Necesario Album Reviews
Cuando Sea Necesario
By Dan McClenaghan
March 22, 2019
Read West 60th Album Reviews
West 60th
By Peter Hoetjes
March 22, 2019