Music Reviews

Gold Sparkle Band

Nu-Soul Zodiac


Energy, it’s all about energy. Sometimes it’s the manic, frenzied energy, sometimes it’s the quiet, languid energy, sometimes it’s neither, and sometimes it’s both. All I know is that when the energy isn’t there, it isn’t worth tuning in.

The Gold Sparkle Band have energy pouring out of every ounce of their beings. It spills out from the music, soaking the listener and infecting them with the GSB’s particular free-jazz bug. The GSB play the klezmer-steeped jazz that is roots them in tradition and allows them to branch out into frenetic soloing and lyrical grace. Even on a more melancholic piece like “Motor City Fugue” the GSB infuse the song with a vitality, which prevents it from feeling dull and limpid.

Charles Waters and Roger Ruzow sound like Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry, respectively, because they have the wonderful rapport that Coleman and Cherry did. There’s a hearty dollop of Coleman’s various projects in this ensemble, but never so much that the music sounds derivative. The GSB have that enduring beauty that buoys up the soul and makes the day that one touch brighter. All this and they name a song after one of my favorite writers (“Borges”) Lo! I am smitten.

Squealer, P.O. Box 229, Blacksburg, VA 24063-0229;

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