Exposé Online banner

4S'D — Man or Muffin
(HOBART 004, 2017, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2018-01-10

Man or Muffin Cover art

In the aftermath of The Muffins’ demise as a band, this group stands as a clear successor, with this album growing out of tunes that were originally planned for The Muffins as far back as 2008. But that was not to be, as the members had dispersed around the country. Luckily for us, former Muffins Tom Scott, Paul Sears, and Billy Swann worked with Mark Stanley to make the four S’s of the name and complete the music, presenting it to us as Man or Muffin (which is printed without a question mark — this may or may not be of significance). Most of the instrumental passages are quite similar to what we’re used to from Scott, Sears, and Swann, with clever riffs, lots of great sax work, and unpredictable arrangements. The tunes lean a bit more to the RIO side than Mother Tongue did, but not outside what you might expect. With the second track, we hear something unexpected: singing. With lyrics. The oddly treated voice comes in towards the end of “Aftermath” and establishes another side to the group. Vocals show up again on “Another Lost Tomorrow,” and here they are more central to the composition, and include backing parts as well, from various female members of the Scott family. “2319” is a kind of synthetic big band tune, with an electronic swing beat and parts (all real, with some treated in ways that sound synthesized) playing the roles of the trombone, trumpet, and sax sections. While Man or Muffin may be somewhat different than a pure Muffins project, I suspect that anyone who likes The Muffins would get into it as well. This is fun music, tricky but not overly serious, full of imaginative twists and turns, expanding on a legacy that stretches back to the 70s.


Filed under: New releases, 2017 releases

Related artist(s): 4S'D (Sears, Scott, Swann & Stanley), Mark Stanley, Paul Sears

Latest news

2018-02-18
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

2018-02-15
10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

2018-02-14
Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

2018-01-30
Bill Bruford Ventures into Uncharted Territory – Drum master Bill Bruford, veteran of some of the most creative bands in history (King Crimson, Yes, Genese, etc.), is sharing some of what he's learned about being a drummer and a musician in his new book, Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer, out on University of Michigan Press. » Read more

2018-01-18
Christian Burchard RIP – Multi-instrumentalist Christian Burchard, who founded the seminal band Embryo in 1969, has died at the age of 71. His January 17 passing was announced on the band's Facebook page. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Claudia Quintet - Semi-formal – The Claudia Quintet is back with another lovely set of what I think of as Chamber Jazz. While the music mostly gives the impression of being pretty thoroughly composed, there is a looseness to the...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues