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Monday, April 14, 2008

Keefe Jackson's Project Project - Just Like This (Delmark, 2008) ***

I have mixed feelings about this CD. On the one hand it's great : the musicians are great and include some of the best of the Chicago scene (Josh Berman - cornet, Jaimie Branch - trumpet and flügelhorn, Jeb Bishop, Nick Broste - trombone, Marc Unternährer - tuba, James Falzone - clarinet, Guillermo Gregorio - alto saxophone and clarinet, Jason Stein - bass clarinet, Dave Rempis - baritone and alto saxophone, Keefe Jackson - tenor saxophone and bass clarinet, Anton Hatwich - bass, and Frank Rosaly - drums), the music itself is not bad and the arrangements and the recording itself are excellent. And on top of that, the whole approach is very consistent from beginning to end, creating a real unique voice in mixing a "traditional" mini big band with free jazz element. So why doesn't it appeal to me? Frankly, I don't know. Maybe because it's too organized? But I had the same feeling with other Delmark albums which combine an expanded horn section with real free jazz thinking, such as Ernest Dawkins' "Mean Ameen". Is it because it's too cerebral? But so are Braxton and the Chicago Underground Trio, also on Delmark. The only reason I can think of is that I never saw them perform live. If I had seen them, I may have been overjoyed by getting the CD now. Unfortunately it's the other way round. It's an excellent CD by many standards, but it just doesn't strike a chord with this guy. But I would love to see them perform on stage.


Anonymous said...

I haven't heard the disc you review here, but I do have Keefe Jackson's Fast Citizens "Ready Everyday" CD, and I think it is killer. I'm not a fan of the opening track, but so much of the rest is just great. The infrastructure of "Signs" is a hard driving bass riff pushed along by a nervous flow of drumming, atop of which rides the jagged current of electrified cello, before the horns come in with their Vandermarky lines. "Blackout" seems to tell the story of a person annoyed and be-klutzed, and then seduced, by the lack of lighting during such events; it starts with an off-kilter pattern reminiscent of early Alasnoaxis, and morphs into something gorgeous. "Pax Urbanum" reminds me of one of Mark Helias' more sensuous tunes, like "Beau Regard." I could go on about a couple of the other tracks, but I'll leave it at that, for now.

joesh said...

Yes, the Fast Citizens project looks really interesting.