Exposé Online banner

Free Nelson Mandoomjazz — The Organ Grinder
(RareNoise RNR, 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

2018-02-18
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

2018-02-15
10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

2018-02-14
Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

2018-01-30
Bill Bruford Ventures into Uncharted Territory – Drum master Bill Bruford, veteran of some of the most creative bands in history (King Crimson, Yes, Genese, etc.), is sharing some of what he's learned about being a drummer and a musician in his new book, Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer, out on University of Michigan Press. » Read more

2018-01-18
Christian Burchard RIP – Multi-instrumentalist Christian Burchard, who founded the seminal band Embryo in 1969, has died at the age of 71. His January 17 passing was announced on the band's Facebook page. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Realm - The Path – Realm is not a new band: well over ten years ago a nearly identical lineup produced an almost unlistenable (due to the muddy mix and horrible vocal arrangements) keyboard album under the name System,...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues