Fast 'n' Bulbous — Waxed Oop
(Cuneiform Rune 277, 2009, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2010-07-01
Fast ‘n’ Bulbous is one of several tribute bands that Cuneiform has been nurturing in the last few years (along with Mahavishnu Project, Yo Miles, and Ed Palermo’s Zappa tribute big-band). I use “tribute” in a very loose sense, because none of these bands – and especially Palermo’s band and Fast ‘n’ Bulbous, who cover the music of Captain Beefheart – are trying to duplicate the original arrangements, but instead use the original compositions as a springboard to take the music into new directions. Fast ‘n’ Bulbous has some superb credentials, led by Philip Johnston (alto sax – of the Microscopic Sextet) and Gary Lucas, who was the guitarist in the last edition of Beefheart’s Magic Band (Doc at the Radar Station onwards), the septet is mostly rounded out by other members of The Microscopic Septet and Doctor Nerve. Their standard modus operandi is to take on Beefheart’s best material, replacing the Captain’s vocals with arrangements for brass and saxes, taking it in the big band direction. Perhaps the most off-putting thing for newcomers about Beefheart’s original music was his strange idiosyncratic vocals and rants, so in essence this band shaves off much of the weirdness and presents the music in strictly instrumental terms, where it truly shines on its own merits. And just so you don’t forget, they’ve included versions of “The Blimp” and “China Pig,” the latter sung by none other than guest Robyn Hitchcock.
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more