Krakauer's Ancestral Groove — Checkpoint
(Table Pounding, 2016, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2016-05-25
In the last couple decades, a lot of bands have mixed klezmer sounds into rock — I don’t know who the first was, but there have been quite a lot — and in jazz there’s a long tradition of gypsy jazz that has a similar flavor. Clarinetist Dave Krakauer does both of those along with some touches of modern hip-hop production, so Krakauer’s virtuosic, warbly melodies swirl acrobatically atop funky grooves that are sometimes augmented by samples and electronic percussion in addition to drum kit, bass, keyboards, and guitar. In terms of other bands we’ve covered at Exposé, it’s like a jazzier take on what Slivovitz does with an infusion of electronics — and of course there’s a similarity to Krakauer’s former band, The Klezmatics. Krakauer’s clarinet has the same kind of giddy, mind-boggling fluidity that you hear with Ivo Popazov. Notes are slippery, gliding microtonally or developing vibrato even when they move quickly, and his melodies are full of jumping octaves. In the backing band, guitarist Sheryl Bailey is equally at home providing jazzy, funky chords or stepping out for a fiery solo, providing a gritty contrast to Krakauer’s reedy tones. Jeremy “Keepalive” Flower handles samples, some of which are obvious, like vocal snips from old records, but others are often indistinguishable within the context of the music, meshing in with Michael Sarin’s drum parts. Special guests contribute organ (John Medeski), electric guitar (Marc Ribot), and accordion (Rob Curto). The levels of inventiveness and technique are high on Checkpoint, but aside from the clarinet, are presented subtly and with a sense of fun that is very engaging.
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more