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At the Center
     

At the Center

by Meat Beat Manifesto
 
Jazz composer/arranger/theorist George Russell used to explain his piece "Dimensions" as "a sequence of freely associated moods indigenous to jazz." Same could be said about At the Center but this time the person doing the free associating doesn't come from the world of jazz, at least not as far as his previous records have let

Overview

Jazz composer/arranger/theorist George Russell used to explain his piece "Dimensions" as "a sequence of freely associated moods indigenous to jazz." Same could be said about At the Center but this time the person doing the free associating doesn't come from the world of jazz, at least not as far as his previous records have let on. As Meat Beat Manifesto, Jack Dangers has been responsible for some of the most in-your-face dance music available, recorded for the seminal industrial dance label Wax Trax, and paved the road for the garish sound of big beat. Dangers doesn't have the downtown pedigree that made DJ Spooky such a shoo-in for Thirsty Ear's Blue Series, but as At the Center displays, he's up to the series' "pushing the jazz envelope" challenge. Hearing jazzers Peter Gordon (flute), Dave King (drums), and Craig Taborn (keyboards of all types) interact with Dangers' soundtracky and experimental constructions stops just short of being compelling, but it's refreshing that no one is reduced to being a session musician. On "United Nations Etc. Etc.," Gordon finds plenty of inspiration in Dangers' groove, and Taborn is always contributing, adding funky fills, fluid improvs, and stabbing soul-jazz. Dangers himself proves to be a serviceable bass flute and bass clarinet player, but it's with the "everything else" that he's credited with that he really shines. Besides laying down some trippy soundscapes, he provides both snippets and lengthy tapes of dialog that give the improvisers something that's more tangible and narrative than what they're used to, and that's the record's big draw. Hearing Gordon, King, and Taborn respond to quirky readings of freaky classifieds on "Want Ads One" is an eye-opening experience. The band just shuffles underneath the taped voice, until the pitifulness of all this desperation works them into a more brittle and punchy workout. Jazz musicians versus the mundane world could be what Dangers is getting at, and it works. A couple entirely abstract numbers are less satisfying but serve a purpose by fleshing the album out nicely.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/24/2005
Label:
Thirsty Ear
UPC:
0700435715929
catalogNumber:
57159
Rank:
250401

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