Motorpsycho + Jaga Jazzist Horns
In the Fishtank
Jazz-fusion is one of my great musical unknowns. I spent much of my adolescence snickering at every appearance or mention of those two words. It always conjured images of overweight, bearded, balding men in Bill Cosby sweaters wasting my time. It wasn’t until recently that I heard them thrown in Jaga Jazzist’s direction — along with words like “brilliant”– by reputable sources. Doing my best to put a decade long preconception behind me, I asked the kind folks at Ink 19 to send this disc my way. I’m oh so glad they did, because this is some of the most graceful, fluid music I’ve ever heard.
The Jaga Jazzist horn section channels Coltrane on the wonderful opener “Bombay Brassiere,” while “Pills, Powders and Passion Plays” has perhaps thirty seconds of the World’s Greatest Guitar Riff courtesy of Motorpsycho. “Theme De Yoyo” is like an explosion of 40-year-old dynamite, all sweat and bellbottoms, leaving a cocaine haze in its wake. The album’s monster, though, is the twenty-minute closer, “Tristano.” The song builds, folds in on itself and starts anew many times over before reaching a climax that brings twisted, sideways behavior back into jazz. I normally have to listen to an album from Constellation Records for such a satisfying release.
To top it all off, both bands had these tracks well practiced and ready within a couple of days. It took me longer than that to shake the shock from my head to write this review. This album made my Top 5 of 2003 easy. Give it a listen and you’ll understand why.