Unexpected, strange, and utterly funny, CHADKYTRAPP is a live free improv meeting between the unclassifiable Dr. Chadbourne, Baltimore-based multi-reedist Evan Rapport, and Ukrainian bandoura player Julian Kytasty. The latter is mostly known as a keepsake of the Kobzari tradition (Black Sea Winds, his album of traditional folk songs and instrumentals for November Music, is essential listening for fans of Eastern European folk), but like a handful of world music musicians (among them, kamantcha player Gaguik Mouradian), he is dipping his toes into free improvisation. His gripping, solemn voice and delicate bandoura playing (an instrument sounding somewhere between a lute and a Celtic harp) contrast sharply with Chadbourne's banjo and irreverent antics. This contrast is the source of many awkward moments that both Chadbourne and Kytasty turn to their own advantage. The result is an unruly and uneven performance, but also a deeply human and entertaining one. Some passages lack listening and cohesion (and it's often Rapport who can't seem to find his place between the other two protagonists), but the good moments are brilliant and the way Chadbourne handles the proceedings sends the sympathy factor through the roof. Highlights include: a demented rereading of Tiny Bradshaw's "The Train Kept A-Rollin'" (rechristened "The Shofar Kept a Blowin'," in honor of one of Rapport's instruments); a section in "Sophisticated" when electric guitar and bandoura connect at a stunning level (to a point where you find yourself able to shut off Rapport's twin-horn blowing in order to focus on the unfolding string dialogue); and the opening "Hole in the Tundra," when Kytasty begins by singing a yearning traditional song with delicate flute accompaniment from Rapport before Chadbourne gives a vigorous left turn with his banjo. Priceless, but surely not for everyone. Nicely recorded in 2003 at the Knitting Factory, this is one of Chadbourne's home-packaged self-released CD-Rs.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture