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
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more