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Darrell KATZ and OddSong

Jailhouse Doc With Holes In Her Socks

JCA RECORDINGS JCA1601 [73:15]

 

 

Prayer

Jailhouse Doc With Holes In Her Socks

Tell Time

Lemmings

Like A Wind

LLAP Libertango

Squirrel

Gerbils

Gone Now

Red Blue

Ye Watchers And

The Red Blues/Red Blue

Personnel: Nos.1-10: Rebecca Shrimpton (voice); Jim Hobbs (alto saxophone); Rick Stone (alto saxophone); Phil Scarff (tenor, soprano and sopranino saxophones); Melanie Howell-Brooks (baritone saxophone); Helen Sherrah-Davies (violin); Vessala Stoyanova (marimba and vibraphone). Personnel No.11: Rebecca Shrimpton (voice); Hiro Honshuku (flute); Phil Scarff (sopranino sax); Melanie Howell-Brooks (bass clarinet); Bill Lowe (tuba); Helen Sherrah-Davies (violin) personnel No.12: Rebecca Shrimpton (voice); Hiro Honshuku (flute, EWI); Jim Hobbs (alto sax); Alec Spiegelman (alto sax); Oliver Lake (alto sax); Phil Scarff (tenor sax); Melanie Howell (baritone sax); Gary Bonham (trumpet); Bill Fanning (trumpet); Mike Peipman (trumpet); Jim Mosher (French horn); David Harris (trombone); Bob Pilkington (trombone); Bill Lowe (tuba); Carmen Staaf (piano); Winnie Dahlgren (vibes); Alex Smith (bass); Pablo Bencid (drums); Ricardo Monzon (percussion); Norm Zocher (guitar)

 

Darrell Katz dedicates this album to his late wife Paula Tatarunis, six of whose texts are set in this often-beguiling album. It features three bands, all with vocalist Rebecca Shrimpton: firstly, and for ten of the 12 tracks, Oddsong with its four-strong sax section, violin and marimba/vibraphone; second, the JCA Winds and Strings with a deftly coloured line-up of flute, sopranino sax, bass clarinet, tuba and violin: and finally, the JCA Orchestra, a big band.

They offer some intriguing sonorities and pursue stylistically interesting avenues. As noted, ten of the tracks belong to Oddsong. Thereís something of an ECM feel to the wordless vocals of Prayer but the title track, with its kooky name, reveals a nice line in angular chamber jazz, the violin offering soloistic breadth, the percussion a great deal of space, the sax generating skittering intensity. Caprice is certainly an element in this band, or these bandsí success; Shrimptonís pristine vocals on Tell Time exists in the context of renewed angularity and unsettled direction. Thereís something quite terse about Lemmings, with its cod quotations and tongue-twisting vocal line. But itís with the setting of Sherwood Andersonís Like A Wind that things expand, dappled colour, overlapping saxophones and expressive string textures over the marimba offering contrast. It would be easy to throw impressionist wash over a setting such as this and itís to Katzís credit that he resists the easy solution and instead makes something contrastingly creative out of his material.

Helen Sherrah-Daviesí arrangement of Pizzollaís Libertango 1974 comes out afresh as LLAP Libertango and it wears a somewhat Celtic dress in its emulation of the folkoric bagpipe effect. Soon, however, one can feel the pastel wash of Gil Evansís influence, as well as a sinewy vocal and deft violin solo. The musical reportage of the witty Squirrel Ė another Tatarunis text Ė is excellently accomplished and there are Calypso-meets-High Life moments in Gerbils, a fun piece replete with saxophonic ťlan. Blues hues haunt Gone Now, yet another fine Taturunis text, which has its share of avian whoops.

JCA Winds and Strings contribute Ye Watchers And with its richer, darker coloration whilst the JCA Orchestra featuring Oliver Lake takes on a piece dedicated to Julius Hemphill called The Red Blues/Red Blue, a full quarter of an hour long. Lakeís vinegary alto playing adds to the acidity level of this trenchant, forthright and excitingly voiced track. Both these last two tracks are live and generate enthusiastic applause.

As I hope Iíve suggested this is a thoroughly engaging and varied album, bound largely by the witty and thoughtful lyrics of Tatarunis and by their imaginative settings.

Jonathan Woolf

 


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