All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

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...

2

Endangered Blood: Work Your Magic

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Work Your Magic is the sophomore follow-up to Endangered Blood's self-titled 2011 Skirl Records debut. The acoustic quartet features an all-star lineup, with Human Feel's Chris Speed and Jim Black joined by fellow Skirl label mates Oscar Noriega and Trevor Dunn. First named The Benefit Band, the group was initially formed in 2008 to help Human Feel saxophonist Andrew D'Angelo pay for medical bills; D'Angelo eventually recovered and the band decided to stay together.

Subtly expanding upon its previous release, the ensemble extends the piano-less quartet tradition pioneered by Ornette Coleman in a stylistically eclectic, albeit sonically cohesive fashion. Facilitating a wide range of tone colors for their adventurous excursions, Speed and Noriega each double on instruments; Speed contrasts his robust tenor saxophone playing with lissome clarinet refrains, while Noriega alternates between sinuous alto saxophone variations and exotic musings on bass clarinet. Conforming to the unit's deliberately unamplified palette, Dunn plies nimble contrabass lines that perfectly underscore Black's engagingly rambunctious polyrhythms, their unified sense of timing impeccable, yet pliant.

Although Noriega contributes the dolorous "Nice Try," Speed once again acts as the group's primary composer, with a rousing cover of Icelandic guitarist Hilmar Jensson's "International Four" rounding out the program. The minimalist repetition of interweaving contrapuntal lines is one of Speed's preferred structural devices, as hypnotic tunes like "Kaffibarinn" and "Ah-Le-Pa" bear out; the lush instrumental latticework of the former and fervent rhythmic break-down in the latter keenly demonstrate the strength of his writing. Similarly enthralling, the cubist theme of "Manzanita" culminates in a state of anthemic fervor, bolstered by Noriega's caterwauling bass clarinet, while the nostalgic closer "LA#5" offers a modernistic spin on old-fashioned balladry, spotlighting Speed's languid tenor channeling Lester Young's breathy lyricism.

One of Endangered Blood's most salient traits is its dedicated embrace of improvisation within the context of composed forms, an aspect not as readily apparent in some of the members' flagship bands; Black's AlasNoAxis and Speed's yeah NO rely primarily on prewritten frameworks, with limited space allocated for spontaneous detours. Work Your Magic inverts that dynamic, especially on traditionally minded pieces, including the deconstructed "Blues in C Flat Minor" and the muscular swinger "Argento," which allow these talented soloists ample opportunity to shine on their respective instruments, echoing the album's title with mantra-like sentiment.

Track Listing: Kaffibarinn; Blues in C Flat Minor; Ah-Le-Pa; Argento; Manzanita; Nice Try; International Four; LA#5.

Personnel: Chris Speed: tenor saxophone, clarinet; Oscar Noriega: alto saxophone, bass clarinet; Trevor Dunn: bass; Jim Black: drums.

Title: Work Your Magic | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Skirl Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Manzanita

Manzanita

Endangered Blood
Work Your Magic

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Work Your Magic

Work Your Magic

Skirl Records
2014

buy
Work Your Magic

Work Your Magic

Skirl Records
2013

buy
 

Endangered Blood

Skirl Records
2011

buy

Related Articles

Read with whom you can be who you are CD/LP/Track Review
with whom you can be who you are
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 21, 2018
Read Inner Core CD/LP/Track Review
Inner Core
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 21, 2018
Read Dirigo Rataplan II CD/LP/Track Review
Dirigo Rataplan II
by Jerome Wilson
Published: September 21, 2018
Read The Window CD/LP/Track Review
The Window
by Chris Mosey
Published: September 21, 2018
Read Mønk CD/LP/Track Review
Mønk
by Chris May
Published: September 20, 2018
Read The Music of Gary Lindsay / Are We Still Dreaming CD/LP/Track Review
The Music of Gary Lindsay / Are We Still Dreaming
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 20, 2018
Read "Live in Miami @ the WDNA Jazz Gallery" CD/LP/Track Review Live in Miami @ the WDNA Jazz Gallery
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 5, 2018
Read "Omara" CD/LP/Track Review Omara
by Roger Farbey
Published: February 3, 2018
Read "From Beyond" CD/LP/Track Review From Beyond
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 7, 2018
Read "I Speilvendthet" CD/LP/Track Review I Speilvendthet
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 9, 2017
Read "Sailors' Tales 1970-1972" CD/LP/Track Review Sailors' Tales 1970-1972
by John Kelman
Published: November 11, 2017
Read "RFK Stadium 1989 Box" CD/LP/Track Review RFK Stadium 1989 Box
by Doug Collette
Published: December 3, 2017