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Friday, January 29, 2010

Tin Hat - Foreign Legion (BAG, 2010) ****

Very much a musical category in its own, Tin Hat integrates jazz with folk with street music with traditional music from Europe, with tangos and waltzes, with some touches of blues and klezmer, and some cinematic ingredients, but then with such compositional creativity,  inventiveness and instrumental dexterity that it goes beyond the usual bland mixtures of styles you get in world music. This is as usual highly original and authentic music. And despite, or maybe because of its mix of influences, it is one hundred percent American. The band consists of Carla Kihlstedt on violin and trumpet violin, Mark Orton on guitar and dobro, Ben Goldberg on clarinet and contra alto clarinet, and Ara Anderson on trumpet, pump organ, piano, glockenspiel, percussion. Matthias Bossi joins on percussion on two tracks. So it's basically the same band as on their previous album, "The Sad Machinery Of Spring".

The album brings a selection of tracks from two live performances, one in Berkely in 2008, and one in Mallorca, Spain in 2005. Fans of the band will be happy to hear new versions of some of their best pieces, like "Helium", "Hotel Aurora", "The Last Cowboy", "Nickel Mountain", "Slip", "The Secret Fluid Of Dusk", and the title track. Many of those get a different approach because of the different line-up. And you also get some new tracks, sometimes with a joke included : "Anna Kournikova", (the Russian tennis player), is now replaced by "Ana Ivanovic", (the Serbian tennis player), for an equally melancholic tango.

A sweet delight.

Buy from Instantjazz. Album will be officially launched on March 9, but so you know it's coming.

Watch a quite disconcerting clip. 

© stef


doca said...

i'll try to listen to this album, not only because i also like tin hat but because of the live tracks. i always thinks that with so great musicians their songs could be a little longer and feature more improvisation, specially because they all heave beautiful melodies.