Friday, January 05, 2007
Critic's pass: a way
if you please, my top 10 records of '06 list--featuring Baby Dayliner, the impressively cheekboned man you see above, sitting pretty at number one--can be found here, along with those of my fellow "Time Out" music folk.
i don't know what it is about Baby Dayliner; i really don't. he's just an original. his music is funny, somewhat kitschy, but also really poignant in this impossible-to-put-your-finger-on way. there's just this very rock-solid sense that he means it. try this song and see what happens.
Baby Dayliner - Critics Pass Away (from the Brassland album of the same name)
also recommended from the '06 crop is the above High Two-issued self-titled debut by Shot x Shot (say "shot by shot"), an excellent Philly jazz quartet featuring my good friend Dan Scofield. saw them tonight at Tea Lounge in Park Slope. all the players are very serious, but i'm especially impressed by their drummer, Dan Capecchi; he's fierce, resourceful, thoughtful and just thoroughly badass. these guys improvise in a very gritty, hard and in-the-moment way. it's very emotional music, but tightly controlled in its presentation--there's no simulated strain in the performance. it's cathartic but not soul-baring; there's elements of free jazz, but none of that tedious pseudo-spirituality. the players have all internalized the music (not always a given in jazz) and they play it very deeply, highlighting all the nuances; when they improvise, it's very directional, purposeful. there's just a really great sense of engagement.
one reason for this is that this is a BAND. non jazz listeners may not realize this but a lot of jazz groups aren't collectives in the way that rock bands are. ok, well a lot of rock bands aren't true collectives either. but even stable membership is rare in a jazz band, and shared writing duty is even more so; Shot x Shot has both. it's like when i was talking about how special the Descendents/All axis was and citing the shared writing duties; it's a phenomenon that really makes for equal investment, everyone throwing their hat in, etc. Shot x Shot has been honing their shit collectively for years and it shows. just deep, serious, modern music without the slightest sense of gimmick. the players are all young, unassuming dudes--hip, but not hipster. Dan and the rest like rock and tons of other stuff but they don't feel the need to trot that out in Shot x Shot. it's "just" jazz, and that's fucking great.