Saturday, July 09, 2016

Marc Ribot - The Young Philadelphians Live in Tokyo (Enja, 2016)

Guitarist Marc Ribot’s encyclopedic knowledge of music leads him to constantly seek new sounds and combinations whether it is the haunting sound of Albert Ayler or the hypnotic rhythms of Cuba. His newest band looks to combine the “Philly Soul” sound of 1970’s rhythm and blues with Ornette Coleman’s early Prime Time electric improvisations. It is a inspired melding,  as is the choice of colleagues. Mary Halvorson joins in on guitar, with Jamaaladeen Tacuma on bass, G. Calvin Weston on drums and a three piece string section. “Love Epidemic” opens the album, with excited voices and strings, funky bass and drums lacing down an excellent foundation for a snarling guitar solo that is shooting sparks of fire as drums slash behind. There is a spare beginning to “Love TKO” and Tacuma takes an excellent bass solo before the focus returns to the guitarists, one of whom takes a torrid blues drenched solo that packs a sense of desperation into it’s searing sound. “Fly, Robin, Fly” has very funky vocals and strings framing choppy rhythm from guitar and drums. The band breaks out with guitar and drum solos, that keep the steamy music moving relentlessly forward. Spacious and string heavy, “TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)” builds a supple groove with the deep bass and drums kicking the rhythm into a higher gear, before a swirling, kaleidoscopic guitar solo weaves through a powerful backdrop. “Love Rollercoaster” has a fast funk feel with storming guitar and singing that makes the music surge forward. There is a very exciting feature for electric bass, using distortions and delay that finally gives way to the slamming full band and chanted vocals. The strings swoop back in on “Do It How You Wanna” amidst the talk-singing, snaking guitar solos and crisp drumming. A knotty guitar solo breaks aloud with epic bass support, droning against the vocalizing. “The Hustle” is the concluding track, beginning as a series of moody soundscapes that resolves in a buoyant bubbling rhythm, with the strings sounding majestic against the funky bass and cool heat of the guitars. This was an excellent album, it is hard not to get caught up in the go-for-broke enthusiasm of the band and the audience. It's a triumphant melding of cutting edge jazz and deep funk. The Young Philadelphians Live In Tokyo

Send comments to Tim.