By Michael Bowen and Leah Sottile
Same Mother **** -- In Same Mother's opener, "Gangsterism on the Rise," Jason Moran pounds out an ominous drone on his piano's right-hand keys. In the album's closer, "Gangsterism on the Set," urban tribalism devolves into last-gasp cacophony and then stillness. In between, guitarist Marvin Sewell joins Moran's usual Bandwagon sidemen, Tarus Mateen on bass and Nasheet Waits on drums, to exemplify a variety of styles -- ballads, call and response, film music, even waltzes. "Jump Up" presents hard-driving, over-the-top jump blues with Sewell's electric riffs only a preamble to the burn-down-the-joint final chorus. In "I'll Play the Blues for You," Moran lays down a challenge, allows Sewell and Mateen to meander, then ponders tranquilly as the blues dwindle into a man alone in a bar, plinking languorously at the keys. In a different context, solo lyricism drives the lament of "The Field."
While at times he sends up musical genres, distorting them, Moran -- who's only 30 -- will be reverberating in jazz circles for years to come. With his sixth album for Blue Note, Moran is himself on the rise. (MB)
Lost Marbles and Exploded Evidence **** -- I'd hate to say that the reason that Enon's latest release of rarities and singles is so good is solely because of Toko Yasuda's girlish, up-tempo vocals. Because while it's not the only reason the record is so good, it's damn close.
The amount of sound that this three-piece can produce is shocking. John Schmersal and Yasuda's complimenting vocals are layered over thick bass lines, dance beats, jarring samples and just the right amount of synth to make you tingle. On Lost Marbles, Enon has the same indie-rock attitude, the same fondness for experimentation. But to their credit, this album has shed the college rock, doo-wah songs of High Society and Hocus Pocus. Schmersal and Yasuda switch off on vocals on this one, making the album's tone vary from matter-of-fact rock to sultry swoons. Lost Marbles is catchy, diverse, off-color and unique. Releasing an album of rarities is like showing a band's underbelly - and this one makes listeners want to scratch their Enon itch. (LS)
Publication date: 05/05/05