Friday, October 21, 2011

Dead Cat Bounce - Chance Episodes (Cuneiform, 2011)

Dead Cat Bounce is a stock market term, unusual for a jazz band, but no threat to our four legged felines. But nonetheless, their music is a wonderfully upbeat mixture of hard-bop and modern jazz with a four horn front line. Their music is exciting, full of exhilaration and humor which recalls if nothing else, the high energy splendor of Charles Mingus' classic recordings, or the great David Murray Octets. Dead Cat Bounce consists of Matt Steckler on saxophones and flute, Jared Sims on saxophones and clarinet, Terry Goss on saxophones, Charlie Kohlhase on saxophones, Dave Ambrosio on bass and Bill Carbone on drums. Opening with “Food Blogger,” the music, composed by Stecker, sets and upbeat and infectious tone. A raw, ripe saxophone solo and riffing horns give “Tourvan Confessin’” its power, while “Far From the Matty Crowd” features strong and powerful drumming that rattles and clanks cheerfully underneath the swirling horns. On “Salon Sound Journal,” soprano saxophone leads all the horns in the beginning, developing a World Saxophone Quartet type feel. Thick and muscular bass and drums enter to drive the punching horns that have accreted around a central soloing horn. A lighter sounding horn texture also develops the unusual and interesting structure of “Silent Movie, Russia 1995.” The music breaks out from the atmospheric medium tempo, building over bass and drums to a vigorous pace. “Salvation and Doubt” has flute enter the fray, developing a complex dynamic with saxophone. After a bass and drum interlude the horns are re-introduced, getting a fine little big band sound. “Township Jive Revisited” takes a different track entirely, with the funky bass and drums laying a deep foundation for the success of this track. This song and “Living the Dream” develop a funky strut featuring rolling drumwork and great collective teamwork. That Dead Cat Bounce is able to keep their sense of humor while being strong and supple musicians goes a long way toward explaining their success.This is an excellent disc by a band that deserves more attention. Chance Episodes -

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