Dave Kim, The Daily Californian
As if filing music isn't hard enough already, Thirsty Ear Recordings introduces The Blue Series Continuum, an ongoing project that assembles artists from different universes, then creates musical fusions that'll give any stock boy at Amoeba a headache. ...available at Amazon.com
Genre-confused or not, the meticulous production by New York City duo, GoodandEvil, shines on the series' inaugural release, which features an all-star ensemble of jazz artistsóWilliam Parker on bass, Roy Campbell on trumpet, Alex Ludico and Josh Roseman on trombones, and the legendary Matthew Shipp on synthesizer.
Dub-based breakbeats provide the framework for these extraordinary musicians, who alternate between somnolent reserve to ballsy fervor throughout the album. Several tracks feature solos reminiscent of the free jazz and avant-garde of yesteryear, rewriting scales while somehow hanging on to a hazy sense of diatonic.
Though head-bobbing is inevitable during play, many of the tunes aren't necessarily "easy listening," per se. Sometimes the trip-hop or electro beats fit nicely into the jazz groove; other times, they grate coarsely against the groove's edge with in-your-face cacophony. But even the harshest critics of the whole jazz-gone-pomo school won't question the fine musicianship all aroundóeach track is densely packed with unpredictable flair and brilliance.
There's also something cinematic about the album, which pays a certain homage to the film-noir and spy movie scores of another era. "The Stakeout" samples a marvelous James Bond-esque riff, accompanying Matthew Shipp's syncopated piano melody in a bizarre but perfect marriage.
The CD does have its flaws: a few of GoodandEvil's breakbeats test the border between playful kitsch and plain old corniness. Occasionally, the interplay between jazzy explosion and mellow subtlety wavers into imbalance. But all in all, GoodandEvil Sessions is a remarkably original and eclectic project that will impress jazz and down-tempo fans alike.
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