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Monday, September 22, 2008

Craig Green + David King (Long Song Records, 2008) ***½

Throwing away all preconceived notions, creating new musical environments, while still sounding familiar and even groove at times, is an unusual combination, yet guitarist Craig Green and drummer Dave King, who also plays keyboards, do exactly that. The guitarist I didn't know, but of course Dave King is the highly energetic and rock-influenced drummer of The Bad Plus and Happy Apple, two bands who've rejuvenated jazz in the past decade and created interest in jazz among a younger audience. This record is not likely to achieve this, therefore it is a little bit too avant-garde for that, but then again ... the twelve tracks each create their own musical universe, sometimes utterly bizarre, but at times combining known elements into surprising new approaches. For instance, on "Walk Left", King plays piano in a totally irregular way, changing the rhythms all the time, and totally dissonant, while Green plays around this, only to fall into a repeated pattern at the end, becoming even a little sentimental and sweet. "Faux Hawk" brings a steady rock groove of some serious drumming and heavyly distorted guitar. "Cinematic" starts with eery electronic landscaping, evolving into wall-of-noise electric guitar sounds. "Praise The Shadows" brings harsh guitar sounds over distant hypnotic polyrhythmics. "Rainey Qunceira" is a track of beautiful, melodic acoustic guitar with King on vibes, again nice and sweet. But once you're accustomed to this pleasant tune, you're pushed into darkness again with "Snow Plow", on which a steady drone and brushed drumming create the backdrop for splinters and shards of guitar sounds, and surprisingly the record ends again with soft acoustic guitar over a steady almost industrial drum beat in the background.

Both musicians manage to create a wide variety of musical approaches to the art of the duo, integrating all styles and subgenres they master, while inventing many more possibilities. Interestingly enough, despite the wide variety of angles, it still sounds very coherent. Sounds promising.

Listen and buy from Long Song Records.

© stef