Monday, May 18, 2009

The Fully Celebrated - Drunk on the Blood of the Holy Ones (AUM Fidelity, 2009)

Despite the grandiose name, the group is but a trio, consisting of Jim Hobbs on alto saxophone, Timo Shanko on bass and Django Carranza on drums. With the title of the album and the artwork looking like a long lost Pogues LP, you know that the music will be a little irreverent. But to the group's credit, they never let their fun turn into flippancy and make good and consistently interesting music falling somewhere along the cusp of composed and free improvisation. "Moose and Grizzly Bear's Ville" kicks off the album with a mellow and swinging mid-tempo employing a jauntry melody, and featuring a nice bass solo backed by drums. "Drunk on the Blood of the Holy Ones" continues with subdued percussion and slightly overblown saxophone which creates an ominous soundsacpe. The music matches its title well, lurching along like pirates dancing a late night debauched reverie. "Brothers of Heliopolis" has a longing feel which slowly develops, with a middle/far eastern melody building in via saxophone. "Enemy of Both Sides" is a groovy improvisation with bounding bass and a cool saxophone solo popping up and around the bass and drums like a game of whack-a-mole. "Pearl's Blues" has a bass solo to open, then drums join in and build to a subtle groove. Squeaky vocalized saxophone accents build the music to a nice earthy feel. The band really blasts off with "Conotocarius" with a roaring, rattling feel which moves into raucous and exciting free jazz trio improvisation. "Dew of May" calms things back down to finish up with long and yearning saxophone tones developing into a mellow trio groove anchored by elastic bass. This band has a very interesting and appealing sound. They draw on the energy of rock and indie music as well as jazz and make it their own by developing their own compositions and conceptions to bring to the music.
Drunk on the Blood of the Holy Ones -
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