292

Michael Bellar As-Is Ensemble: Turned On Turned Up

Glenn Astarita By

Sign in to view read count
Michael Bellar As-Is Ensemble: Turned On Turned Up Fans of Medeski, Martin & Wood and the generally hip might dig the upbeat and refreshing sounds of keyboardist Michael Bellar's As-Is Ensemble. Its band members perform with notable artists when not on tour, amid previous duties as the house band for New York City's famed Blue Note club. And while the trio abides by a manifesto balanced with aggression, chops and clever song-forms, it manages to carve out an attention-grabbing and distinct music persona throughout.

The trio lays out a buoyant funk, jazz-rock, swing and groove quotient, via shades of the sometimes, zany New York City downtown aura. Its polytonal program, partly due to Bellar's sweeping, melodic and squirrely Hammond organ parts, complement his haunting and ethereal electric-piano phrasings. On many of these works, the band conjures up an amalgamation of textures, spiced with quirky deviations and tightly orchestrated unison choruses.

The musicians' whirling passages during "Fur Turban," tender a feisty progressive-rock vibe touched with classical overtones. But they go full circle on the following "Three Legged Dog," which is a piano trio vamp, engineered upon Spanish bravado. Then the band spins Led Zeppelin's "Misty Mountain Hop" into a wily and quite groovy, electric-piano based romp. Hence, the title Turned On Turned Up signifies a gelling sequence of musical events that aims to excite and entertain. It's a no-holds barred fest, often subdued by areas of restraint and regimented movements.

Track Listing: Squashing Pollyanna; Fred Jones Pt.2; All Things Rabbit; Heavyweight Love Match; Sublime; Fur Turban; Three Legged Dog; The Damage Done; Man, You Weren't Even There; Unravel; Misty Mountain Hop; Yoga For Prison Girls.

Personnel: Michael Bellar: acoustic and electronic keyboards, accordion, Hammond organ, percussion; Brad Wentworth: drums, percussion; Rob Jost: acoustic and electronic bass; Robert Di Pietro: percussion.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Left Three Lanes Music | Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock


comments powered by Disqus

Shop

More Articles

Read Neko CD/LP/Track Review Neko
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 25, 2017
Read Alcanza CD/LP/Track Review Alcanza
by Troy Dostert
Published: May 25, 2017
Read New Life CD/LP/Track Review New Life
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 25, 2017
Read A Social Call CD/LP/Track Review A Social Call
by James Nadal
Published: May 25, 2017
Read The Big Wig CD/LP/Track Review The Big Wig
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 24, 2017
Read The Dreamer Is the Dream CD/LP/Track Review The Dreamer Is the Dream
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 24, 2017
Read "Slag" CD/LP/Track Review Slag
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 29, 2017
Read "Aziza" CD/LP/Track Review Aziza
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 19, 2016
Read "Just Get In" CD/LP/Track Review Just Get In
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 22, 2016
Read "Mediterrana" CD/LP/Track Review Mediterrana
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: July 14, 2016
Read "The Core Trio Live, featuring Matthew Shipp" CD/LP/Track Review The Core Trio Live, featuring Matthew Shipp
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2016
Read "Greatest Hits" CD/LP/Track Review Greatest Hits
by Doug Collette
Published: November 18, 2016

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, hide slide-outs, and provide read access to our future articles.

Buy it!