Wednesday, December 3, 2008

wednesday afternoon key party music

I like most everything that John Zorn does, but his Bar Kokhba middle-eastern lounge combo stuff ranks among my favorites avenues his work inhabits. They are no less adventurous than his more out-there pieces, but have an immediacy to them (in the case of Lucifer (lala) anyway) that is up there with that of Wes Montgomery or even The Ventures - where you know the songs already even if you don't know them. This album is the one to put on as the cross-faculty key party gets rolling, if for no other reason than to see the wild haired comparative religion professor with the accent do her Tarntinoid faux-belly dance routine.

So hey, why not some Wes Montgomery... I understand that one is not supposed to prefer his pop crossover albums (lala) to his more formal jazz exercises, but I have a soft spot for this kind of proto-muzack party cheese, especially when it is cubed with as sharp a knife as his. The title track leads me to day dream a dull gathering devolving into psychedelic shimmying like the conference room in the John Mayer episode of The Chappelle Show (SWF, the topless part was cut out). The rest of the record is pure fondue and wayward glances.

Organist Jimmy Smith's name may be on the host, but guitarist Kenny Burrell is manning the dimmer switch on Softly as a Summer Breeze, (lala) smoothing things out so sweetly that the usually mood-enhancing Smith sometimes becomes more of a distraction than a help. This music might actually be a little to upbeat for a key party, but hey, let's face it, we are all a little old for this, in the afternoon for chrissakes... how long did we really think we were gonna hang in there for this thing anyway?

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