Exposé Online banner

The Muffins with Marshall Allen & Knoel Scott — Loveletter #2 "The Ra Sessions"
(HOB002, 2005, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2006-05-01

Loveletter #2

What does one get when The Muffins mix it up with two great sax players (Marshall Allen and Knoel Scott) from Sun Ra’s Arkestra? That’s right, not two – but four sax players, plus bass and drums, in seven semi-structured and free improvisational jazz blowouts: Nothing seems to be composed in this setting, unless composed on the spot, yet not surprisingly this comes off as a very expressive and inspired workout for the most part, and overall quite listenable, albeit occasionally chaotic. Saxophobes need not apply, but anyone who enjoys the Muffins early material, or even their regular releases of late (Bandwidth, Double Negative) will find a touch of this adventurous free improv spirit in all of their music, just not so much of it all at once. The six players work together well, and while the groove seems to be constantly turning and twisting, and interplay seems to constantly shift among the several layers of woodwinds, there’s still plenty here to sink your teeth into and tap your foot to. While the saxes tend to dominate the proceedings, a groovy and wicked wah-wah guitar solo and sweet flute melody that follows it are the highlights of “Chickenhead,” the album’s longest track. Both Muffins and Arkestra fans – and fans of wind-driven jazz improv in general will find this collection worthwhile.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 33, 2005 releases

Related artist(s): The Muffins, Dave Newhouse (Manna / Mirage), Paul Sears

Latest news

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more

2019-01-02
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more

2018-12-23
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Asturias - Cryptogam Illusion – The brainchild of multi-instrumentalist and composer Yoh Ohyama, Asturias has a sound that could be called an instrumental symphonic fusion (in the vein of Kenso, Happy the Man, Pekka Pohjola or...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues