Exposé Online banner

Free Nelson Mandoomjazz — The Organ Grinder
(RareNoise RNR068, 2016, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2017-01-02

The Organ Grinder Cover art

With The Organ Grinder, Free Nelson Mandoomjazz expands their sound further from its base of sax, bass, and drums by featuring more guests than before and varying arrangement structures. Rebecca Sneddon’s sax introduces the set with a mournful melody which mutates into a sludgy fuzz bass riff, presenting a somewhat minimalist version of “doomjazz.” Colin Stewart (bass) and Paul Archibald (drums) are still on board, and plodding heavy beats still figure prominently in the band’s style. It’s with the second track, “You Are Old, Father William,” that the sound starts drifting — right out of the gate, there’s a trumpet (Luc Klein) sparring with Sneddon’s sax as an equal partner, and the playful harmonies bring the piece to life. Five of the album’s 11 tracks feature either Klein or trombonist Patrick Darley or both, and the expanded palette serves to enhance the other tracks by contrast. Archibald contributes occasional keyboards (piano and organ) as well. “Calcutta Cutie,” with its piano ostinato, almost sounds like a throwback to mid-60s post-bop jazz, though the occasional free sections stray somewhat from that era’s norms. “Shapeshifter” is another tune that breaks the doomjazz mold, with a sprightly 9/8 rhythm and trumpet/sax harmonies. It comes off like the odd-meter workout that Wayne Shorter and Freddie Hubbard never did. Archibald’s organ shows up in the final cut, “Om,” with long, slowly changing chords that provide a church-organ drone for meditative chords on the bass and squawks on the sax. It’s a powerful and fitting ending to an album of contrasts and extremes.


Filed under: New releases, 2016 releases

Related artist(s): Free Nelson Mandoomjazz

Latest news

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more

2019-01-02
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more

2018-12-23
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Ars Nova - Sunshine and Shadows – A few issues back I reviewed the reissue of Ars Nova’s 1968 first album. Here we have their second and last effort. It takes the baroque-meets-psych sound of the debut and turns a bit more to the...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues