1. Handsome Eddy
2. The Hop Bottom Hop
8. Evans City
10. A Night in Tunisia.
PETER EVANS, Trumpet; JON IRABAGON, Alto saxophone;
MOPPA ELLIOT, double bass; KEVIN SHEA, drums.
Well ! At least all the players seem
to be having a whale of a time.
But alas, their exuberance and fun doesn’t
always infect the listener with the same level
As a live act, one can imagine this as a stomper,
but in the cold light of a CD it needs a very
good party to accompany it, - and the party
should start first to get everyone going.
The first track begins with a nice hollow
percussion sound, then a standard motif. Good
so far, but them the motif is split between
the sax and trumpet. Very clever, but not
clever enough, because the ‘splitting’ is
just that, - it lacks the seamless joints
required to push the business on and leaves
the top end parts fighting for a cohesion
which has to be supplied by the rhythm section.
To give out the theme with irregular pointillism
when melodic depth is required may be a brave
gesture but it is akin to having to peck the
corn before one can sample the chicken.
A lot of the notes from a trumpet sound like
squeaking an inflated latex item and are mirrored
by a saxophone that leaps out of the written
range into an orbit of fuzz and bubble.
The bass and drums fall into the same sort
There is a lot of impressive thumping and
banging from the drums, and some energetic,
strumming from the bass player; who, when
he takes up his bow manages to combine just
about every string technique from col legno
to glissando multi stopping.
Nonetheless there is some good bowed sound
in track 8 which lives in the memory despite
the manic laugh that concludes the number.
The drummer doesn’t get much of a break until
the last track and it is a long solo, technically
competent, but in some respects one feels
the roots are in a marching band.
It’s a pity that the melody instruments so
often take refuge in repeated notes and squeaky
gimmicks when a bit of decent melodic improvisation
would give us all an interlude.
Exploratory noises are great fun, particularly
in a three dimensional gig but they soon pall
when they become the prop for some fairly
run-of-the-mill stuff on a disk
At track four, the mood changes and the sleeve
tells us that,
"It is a string of minor-key clichés
modelled on countless attempted sambas and
The clichés are in themselves quite
nice but the improvisation soon degenerates
into the usual technical exercises and repetitive
Track 6, "Lover" starts out as a
nice smoochy tune and then after 8 bars the
sax can’t resist exploring quarter tones followed
by the trumpet in an atonal version that serves
only to make the other tuned instruments sound
Suddenly an up-tempo signal lets everyone
have a go with the latex, burbles and whacks
which serve to remind us that it takes a good
jazzer to deliver a good slow, and an even
better one to make a decent improvised solo
on a slow.
It seems that for Shamokin the technique is
getting there but artistic invention is a
going to be a much longer journey.
If you are intent on having a noisy party
or simply annoying the neighbours, this is
an item for you.