Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Talking Cows - Almost Human (Jazzsick Records, 2012)

Possessing a welcome dose of wit that is a hallmark of the “New Dutch Swing,” the group Talking Cows from The Netherlands consists of Frans Vermeerssen on tenor saxophone, Robert Vermeulen on piano, Dion Nijland on double bass and Yonga Sun on drums. Influenced by jazz iconoclasts like Thelonious Monk and Misha Mengelberg, the music moves at a brisk pace and shows a shrewd knowledge of jazz both past and present. The album is well performed throughout, mixing live and studio recordings. Among the highlights are the tongue in cheek “A Serious Lack of Humor” which opens with Nijland’s bass before the rest of the band comes storming in. The music is taken at a fast pace with propulsive drumming increasing the drive and velocity of the performance. Sun is particularly powerful on drums, keeping the pot boiling the whole way. Playing with a medium tempo choppy feel, “Dinner is Served” toys with the aura of Monk and features a nicely developed saxophone solo. The pace picks up with an concentrated interlude for piano, bass and drums before soaring to a fine conclusion. Clattering percussion and bass develop a funky groove to usher in “Most Def!” which shows the full band developing a deep pocket for their music. Saxophone and drums dig in deep to power the track through to a fine finish. The compositions on this album were quite well done, demonstrating the band’s varied skills and repertoire. It was an enjoyable and fun album with an with a direct sound and concept. Almost Human - amazon.com

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