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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Nu Band - The Dope And The Ghost (Not Two, 2007) ****½

The Nu Band is something special. Free free bop with a political message. On their last album they ended with it, on this one they start with it : a long blues-based romp called "Bushwacked", with Roy Campbell "reciting" a newspaper article on President Bush's administration and doubtful policies, and even if this kind of message tends to be tedious in musical settings, this one works well, because the four musicians change this blues into a high energy free jazz piece. The four are Roy Campbell on trumpet, Mark Whitecage on alto sax and clarinet, Joe Fonda on bass, Lou Grassi on drums. Marco Eneidi joins on alto on one - twenty minute long - track. And what can I say? These guys ARE free jazz. Each of them has played a major role in shaping what the genre is today, in showing new ways of expressing emotions and of jointly creating a superb listening experience by ... well by listening to the other band members in the first place and then adding to it, enhancing it, pushing it further, creating new dialogues and phrases. This is music that is adventurous, emotional, but at times so tight, so interlocked, so on the same level, that it's getting uncanny. But the greatest thing : it's real fun too. The intensity! The interplay! The melodies! The emotions! The music! And indeed, something which can only work in front of a live audience.