Reptet — Chicken or Beef?
(Monktail MCMC8, 2008, CD)
Reptet — At the Cabin
(Artists Recording Collective ARC-2253, 2011, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2013-05-15
Reptet fits squarely into that stream of jazz bands that contains the Lounge Lizards, Microscopic Septet, the Tiptons, and so on: crazy arrangements, skilled playing, influences drawn from both within jazz and outside, and a penchant for humor. In this case, the front line of horns features leader Samantha Boshnack on trumpet, two multi-instrumental woodwinds (saxes, clarinets, flutes) in Izaak Mills and Chris Credit; Nelson Bell on trombone, tuba, and so on; plus a rhythm section of John Ewing on drums and percussion, and Tim Carey on basses. Various guests add other intstruments from time to time. Boshnack is the main composer, though Credit, Carey, and Mills also contribute tunes. The world is full of competant players, so saying the band members are all really good at what they do is probably not enough to set Reptet apart. But combine that with charts of this caliber and you've got something special that should appeal to tastes ranging from fairly old-school jazz to rock and experimental music. While remaining more or less faithful to many of the standard sounds of jazz, expectations and traditions are defied at every turn. The typical flow of a tune (head, solos, repeat head) is completely tossed out — these arrangements are more akin to the exploratory big band music of Gil Evans, Hank Levy's work with Stan Kenton's band, and Toshiko Akiyoshi, though scaled down to a smaller ensemble. There's also a bit of the spirit of entertainment that's heard on some early New Orleans recordings, where the players chant catch-phrases to punctuate the tunes. The title track of Chicken or Beef is one of those. The horn parts are put together in very sophisticated ways, sometimes blocked in extended chords, sometimes breaking up into polyphony. And the solos are all great — each one of these players has interesting things to say. If you liked Fast 'n' Bulbous or Revolutionary Snake Ensemble, you're likely to enjoy this as well. The sense of fun is infectious, and surprises are around every corner.
Related artist(s): Reptet
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more