Exposé Online banner

Naked Truth — Avian Thug
(RareNoise RNR057, 2016, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2016-03-30

Avian Thug Cover art

This is the third Naked Truth release, and the first I’ve heard. The quartet features what might be considered a standard jazz configuration of keyboards, bass, and drums with a trumpet as the lead, but the result is pretty far from something like what came out of any of the classic trumpet quartets of previous decades. But the identities of the players should have eliminated that possibility before a note was played: Italian bass explorer Lorenzo Feliciati, percussion experimentalist Pat Mastelotto, Roy Powell of InterStatic on keyboards, and trumpeter Graham Haynes, an alumnus of Steve Coleman’s Five Elements known for using electronics and samples in his music. Powell’s keys encompass piano, electric piano, and organ primarily, with synthesizers also showing up at times, as well as effects to process the sounds of his other instruments. His playing avoids jazz tropes entirely, with single lines that jump around, color-shifting clusters on the organ, and quirky rhythmic patterns that seem at odds with the other players but make a kind of twisted sense. Feliciati shows a lot of range as well, at times hitting the fuzz for a powerful nasty low end, at other times tossing off slinky lines on the fretless; he also contributes a bit of guitar and keyboards. Mastelotto’s usual hybrid kit of acoustic and electronic “things to hit” is in evidence, though at times his electronics are impossible to distinguish from all the craziness coming from the others. He thrives in this jazz-oriented setting, and it’s nice to hear him in something other than his progressive rock mode. Haynes’ playing provides a lot of the album’s bright spots, both with straight-up acoustic lines and with a wide range of different kinds of processing with echoes, harmonizers, and so on. In some ways, Avian Thug is a perfect modern take on some of Miles Davis’s electric innovations, though that’s an impression that’s likely any time a trumpet is incorporated into electric / electronic music with jazzy leanings. Although I’d bet that anyone who hates Miles’ electric music wouldn’t go for this either. That is not me – bring on the Bitches Brew, and bring on the Avian Thug!


Filed under: New releases, 2016 releases

Related artist(s): Pat Mastelotto, Lorenzo Feliciati, Naked Truth

Latest news

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more

2018-06-13
Jon Hiseman RIP – One of the great drummers of the rock era has died. Jon Hiseman was a veteran of such ground-breaking groups as Colosseum (I and II), Tempest, John Mayal's Bleusbreakers, and was a founding member of the innovative large band United Jazz + Rock Ensemble. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Farpoint - Cold Star, Quiet Star – Let me cut to the chase. Cold Star, Quiet Star is undoubtedly one of 2008's best progressive releases and it is Farpoint's fourth album. They have been around since 1997, and it shows. Just pop their...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues