A CHARMER…Revolutionary Snake Ensemble: Live Snakes

I just finished reviewing a bunch of ECM albums, so I was ready for something a bit more lined up with the reason I got into jazz in the first place. Popped this puppy in and WOW-I’m in love again!

I’ll save the reptilian references for their next album, as I want to get right to the point of why this release by this Massachusetts-based group is going to get you excited about music again. The RSE is a collective of musicians, comprised of a bucket load of reeds and brass that are driven by bass, electric bass, a pair of drums and a ton of whoopee cushioned attitude. They mix the energy of the Dirty Dozen Brass band in that they come across like a street ensemble, yet combine that with a freedom of the Art Ensemble of Chicago with just enough gospel roots to make you realize someone grew up going to church, and I hope he’s still going!

Lead by alto saxist Ken Field, the band mixes blues, boogie and soul on strutting pieces such as “Parade” and “Cassandra 4” which include earthy sax and bone solos throughout. A hypnotic intro to Duke Ellington’s “Caravan” (told you that you’d like this!) leads up to a sensuous reading of the melody, while a cute take of “Que Sera Sera” has its heart in the right place. But the root of the roots is on full display on the Sunday Morning material, as “Rock of Ages” gets you rolling down the aisles and “I’ll Fly Away” gets you back up and into the River Jordan. Fun, musical, energetic and filled with agape-styled love, this disc is a reminder, just like the Bible itself, of why you’re alive, and how far we can wander from the truth.

Accurate Records


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