The Wrong Object — Platform One
(Jazzprint JPVP138CD, 2007, CD)
The Wrong Object — Stories from the Shed
(Moonjune MJR018, 2008, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2008-10-01
Platform One from last year is properly credited to The Wrong Object featuring Annie Whitehead and Harry Beckett, British jazz trombonist and trumpeter respectively, continuing this Belgian jazz-rock ensemble’s tradition of working with better known musicians from outside their inner circle (recall on their earlier album The Unbelievable Truth they were joined by the late Elton Dean). This time out the core group is a sextet led by guitarist Michel Delville, featuring bass, drums, tenor sax, soprano sax, bass clarinet, and trumpet. No parsing words here, these guys make some damn great music, brilliant and colorful, energetic and melodic, every musician giving it their all in a classic electric jazz style with plenty of solos and improvs, but never going harsh on the ears. Whitehead and Beckett aren’t just guesting either, their presence is integral to the effort, with Whitehead contributing the two-part title track and one other, Beckett contributing two, and the eleven minute album closer “Hello Max” (originally from Whitehead’s early 90s album This Is… Rude) between them. Of special note here are the group’s takes on two classic period Zappa tunes, “Big Swifty” and “Filthy Habits,” the latter with Delville assuming an amazing FZ-like shredding guitar sound trading off solos with tenor saxophonist Fred Delplancq.
Right from the starting block, Stories from the Shed takes no prisoners and offers a more direct harder-rocking style. Still plenty of brass and wind power (though now as a quintet configuration, with the soprano sax dropped) and the same very strong melodic approach and tight rhythms, full of fire and energy. The compositions this time out tend to be shorter and more succinct, mostly penned by Delville, but with fourteen pieces in all, each of the other members get one or two cuts in as well. Seems they are incorporating more electronics into their sound as well, mostly guitar or bass triggered (there is no keyboard player), embellishing the existing sonic fabric. Even with the perceived heaviness and direct approach of this one, the influence of bands like Soft Machine and Nucleus is never too far away, still permeating much of their stylistic palette, the result making for a very satisfying listen. This is a band that’s full of great surprises at every turn, and both of these discs have plenty to offer the discriminating listener. Highly recommended.
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
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
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
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
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