Thursday, December 11, 2008

Review of 20 Jazz Funk Greats by Drew Daniels

Drew Daniels does an excellent job side-stepping (without dismissing) the juicy extra-musical stories of the members of Throbbing Gristle to intelligently focus directly on the music, what it meant to the people who made it and to the person that listened to it.

Which is refreshing, because once you get past the anti-society rhetoric, the name-dropping that occupies a lot of Genesis P-Orridge's interviews (albeit names he is qualified to drop seeing that he actually worked with all those people) and the scandals, Throbbing Gristle made at least two albums (D.O.A and 20 Jazz Funk Greats) of innovative, compelling music that hold up thirty years later, touching the avant-garde and pop sectors of thing while being distinctly neither.

Drew's book is at heart a love letter to this album, but unlike a lot of breathless praises fans unload onto the adored, he seeks to discover why he loves it. Wanting to unlock the mysteries of one's beloved in hopes of finding more to love inside is as good a definition of love as any. There is a lot of "unlike" and "love" in this review, as there is in this album, as there is in this book. The best 33 1/3 book I've read.

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