Thursday, November 19, 2009

Ted Sirota's Rebel Souls - Seize the Time (Naim, 2009)

Drummer and composer Ted Sirota draws from a wide range of influences to create an interesting spin on post-bop instrumental jazz. Influenced by afro-pop, funk, reggae, ska and hip-hop as well as jazz, the group creates an interesting instrumental soundscape. Sirota is accompanied on this album by Geof Bradfield on tenor and soprano saxophones and bass clarinet, Greg Ward on alto saxophone, Dave Miller on guitar and Jake Vinsel on bass. The mission of this album was to draw attention to the musicians who spoke up for social change. Whether through rock 'n' roll music like "Clampdown" by The Clash which is given a radical makeover by Geof Bradfield, or Brazillian music as displayed by "13 De Maio" which has a sinuous and enticing groove, music has the power to change. Charles Mingus great composition "Free Cell Block F, Tis Nazi USA" oroginally written to commemorate the Attica prison riots meshes perfectly in mindset and music with the band's rebellious nature and is a highlight of the album. The original "Killa Dilla" references reggae with a huge groove and a lurching, loping swing. "Viva Maxi" finds Sirota alone improvising a drum solo in honor of one of his drum heroes, and a tireless advocate for social change, Max Roach. This was a very well done album that drew from a diverse array of sources and then viewed them through the prism of jazz. Bradfield deserves special kudos for his arrangements of several songs, they are logical and well thought out.
Seize the Time -

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