Revolutionary Snake Ensemble — Live Snakes
(Accurate Records AC-5065, 2014, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2014-07-22
Saxophonist Ken Field’s Revolutionary Snake Ensemble is basically a seven to fourteen-piece portable jazz party, a big band sound with a huge nod to dixieland and numerous other styles, as well as some brilliant improvisation. The live setting makes this even more fun than usual; it’s hard not to find joy and jubilation in these instrumental grooves. A dozen live cuts – only a few of which have appeared on earlier releases, were drawn from four shows over a two year period, so the group membership varies from track to track, but one will find trumpets, trombones, alto and tenor saxes, flutes, acoustic and electric bass, and (usually double) drums in abundance, along with occasional tuba and additional percussives. Roughly half of the tunes here are Ken Field originals, the balance being superb interpretations of standards and traditional pieces. Among the latter are an inspired version of Duke Ellington’s “Caravan,” the traditional “Rock of Ages,” and the 50s pop hit “Que Sera Sera” made popular by Doris Day, although the RSE version presented here breathes a whole new life into that old classic. Of special note is “For Karen,” a seven-minute group improvisation that segues directly into “I’ll Fly Away,” a 30s piece traditionally played at funerals – the feeling morphs gently from melancholy to joy, these two pieces dedicated to the recently departed animated film producer Karen Aqua (1954-2011). Also of note are the last two tracks on the disc, which are remixes of other pieces recorded by the group. All taken, a very fun release that deserves to be heard by all.
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more