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Exploding Pig — Jazz Futura
(Planet Arts 302322, 2023, CD / LP)

by Jon Davis, Published 2024-02-29

Jazz Futura Cover art

Maybe the name “Exploding Pig” doesn’t sound very promising. Certainly an actual pig exploding would make a big, nasty mess. The band Exploding Pig, on the other hand, makes a big, wonderful mess of a sound. This four-piece features Luis Bonilla, an American who primarily plays trombone, and also contributes trumpet, tuba, percussion, and vocals. His bandmates are a trio of Austrians: Fabio Schurischuster (guitar, along with a bit of bass, percussion, and vocals), Albrecht Klinger (bass and a bit of guitar), and Bernhard Wimmer (drums, percussion). In a rock context, having trombone as the primary lead instrument is pretty unusual — in fact, I can’t think of another example at all — while in jazz you can find numerous examples. Exploding Pig’s music isn’t exactly jazz or rock, but deftly straddles the two, also incorporating elements of funk and latin music. Jazz Futura contains 20 tracks, though five of them are short interludes of less than half a minute. That leaves 15 solid music tracks, not a single one of which tops six minutes, and there’s not a dull moment to be had anywhere. Standout tracks like “Trentin Quarantino,” “Locor de Nacho,” “Batman on Acid,” and “Rick James Marching Band” are packed full of catchy melodies, bouncy rhythms, and a musical sense of fun that matches the amusing titles. Bonilla’s trombone is superb, with impressive articulation on the many fast passages, and his solos are excellent as well; his arrangements featuring the other brass instruments are really tasty. Schurischuster provides chords, lead lines, riffs, solos, and some really weird background noises from his guitar. As a rhythm section, Klinger and Wimmer are are solid and funky. I really appreciate the fact that the tracks are concise, giving them ample room to stretch out but never wearing out any idea’s welcome. Exploding Pig makes a sure case for the validity of the trombone as a lead instrument, at least when the person behind it is as good as Luis Bonilla and there’s a backing band as good as this.

Filed under: New releases, 2023 releases

Related artist(s): Exploding Pig

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