Mostly Other People Do the Killing
Disasters Vol. 1
The name of this New York based jazz ensemble keeps popping into my head when I’m watching the news. When pundits are talking about the war in Ukraine, I’m reminded that it’s other people doing the killing, not the fearless leader or the man with the show on FOX. While the album title has nothing to do with current events, all the songs are named for Pennsylvania cities that suffered some kind of disaster (flood, fire, mine collapse). Playing Disasters at very low volume while working, it just seemed like a nice piano jazz trio playing some pleasant, bop-inspired tunes. When I finally played Disasters at a proper volume, I thought there was something wrong with my stereo. In the foreground is the nice piano/bass duo. This is what registered when I was first hearing the record. What’s going on behind and around Ron Stabinsky’s piano is delightfully weird. Nevin Shea’s drumming is a nervous skitter thing. His strange shuffles and odd accents sound like they escaped from a trip hop session. To make things just a bit more interesting/confusing, both Stabinsky and Shea are adding electronics to the proceedings. On “Three Mile Island” it sounds like the trio is playing in a video arcade with the game noise seeping in. Elsewhere, the electronic sounds give the tunes an eerie horror-movie vibe. The alternate take of “Wilkes-Barre” has a prominent synth part, which makes me fantasize that Rick Wakeman crashed the session.