Fast 'n' Bulbous — Pork Chop Blue around the Rind
(Cuneiform Rune 205, 2005, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2005-09-01
Led by former Beefheart guitarist Gary Lucas (Doc at the Radar Station, Ice Cream for Crow) and saxophonist / arranger Phillip Johnston (NYC downtown scene regular), Fast 'n’ Bulbous is essentially an instrumental Captain Beefheart tribute project for three piece rock band plus four-piece horn and sax section. As one might imagine, this is one wild ride, but a fun one, as these interpretations take the Captain’s music in a new direction and give them a new life, not to mention the one original track by Johnston and Lucas that sounds like it could have been written by the man himself. The spirited performances here definitely owe a lot to the downtown sound, thanks to Johnston’s brilliant and often intentionally chaotic horn arrangements, yet it’s Lucas’ bad-ass slide guitar that cements the connection with the original versions. While one might suspect that with all the the saxes, trumpets and trombones this project might get lost in jazzland, but the rhythm section of Richard Dworkin (drums) and bassist Jesse Krakow keep this project planted firmly in rock territory. Being more of a Beefheart purist (where’s the harmonica and vocals, man?) it took a few runs through before I was tuned into what these guys were up to, but further listens were increasingly rewarding. Definitely an original take on some of the best music ever made.
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more