Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

CD Review: White Rocket

An absolutely unique, dark, exciting debut by this intriguingly innovative jazz trio on the upstart Irish jazz label Bottlenote: Greg Felton on piano, Jacob Wick on trumpet and Sean Carpio on drums. Since White Rocket don’t have a bass player, Felton not only often holds down the lower registers but also keeps the rhythm going as Carpio, an adventurous player, frequently colors the songs more than he’s actually pushing them along. Everybody in the band writes, diversely but with a shared and uncommon dedication to melody – this is the kind of jazz that plays in your head, that grabs you with an intense, fearless emotional intensity.

 

The cd kicks off on a particularly auspicious note with Mutatis Mutandis (Latin for Changes Changing), Felton’s piano doing an eerie chordal progression up the scale underneath Wick’s characteristically fluttery trumpet. It’s predictable but absolutely macabre, and catchy beyond words as it segues into the second track. Felton then takes his horror movie cadences in both directions from a central tone, Carpio suddenly interrupting the suspense with a strikingly melodic, pianistic solo. Track three, Recent Events is punctuated by several completely over-the-top but effective pregnant pauses between pulsing eerie piano chords and some busy playing from Wick, all three instruments shifting in and out of focus as the melody builds.

 

Home, by Carpio starts with a circular hypnotic vibe early, the piano working the upper registers this time as Wick holds the machine to the rails. The single most beautiful track on the cd is the vividly melodic, melancholy Lonely Toad, a cinematic, Pam Fleming-esque ballad, Wick channeling Miles Davis (listen to the Porgy and Bess album lately?) over dark, sparse piano. Suddenly the poor toad has dignity

 

Susan Styra is a long, twelve-minute partita that goes every which way, opening with another lively, circular melody, crescendoing with lyrical trumpet and a rather regal 2-chord piano vamp. And then long drum solo, insistent on the toms and the cymbal, reverting cleverly back to the head and then morphing into eerie boogie. The cd wraps up with Symptoms and its noir lounge piano, Sung Once with its nice hypnotic outro as Carpio takes a pummeling solo and the plaintive, pensive Fisherman’s Song, highlighted by Wick’s austere foghorn lines. To the group’s further credit, it’s hard to think of anyone to compare them to: they’re just really good, and they’re coming to Barbes on 2/25 at 7 PM.

February 16, 2009 Posted by | Music, music, concert, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Song of the Day 2/16/09

Every day, our top 666 songs of alltime countdown gets one step closer to #1. Today’s song is #527:

The Stooges – I’m Sick of You

Absolutely evil proto-punk from 1974, Iggy getting snuck out of heroin rehab to do vocals, James Williamson’s offhandedly vicious guitar over Ron Asheton’s bunker-buster descending progression on the bass. It’s on a million compilations on both vinyl and cd; mp3s are everywhere.

February 16, 2009 Posted by | lists, Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music, music, concert | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment