Fat Kid Wednesdays


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After a debut conceived as a tribute to Don Cherry, the Minneapolis trio keeps paying homage to its other influences, which span an amazing spectrum that includes indie rockers Duster, pop oddballs the Shaggs, electronica wizard Richard Devine, jazz legend Ornette Coleman (with an inspired cover of the seldom heard "I Heard It Over the Radio"), and crossover arranger Vince Mendoza. For good measure, they throw in a couple of standards and take another step by featuring some original material (in particular, bassist Adam Linz's memorable "Monster Closet"). Less grandiose than the Bad Plus and less rambunctious than Happy Apple, they belong to a younger generation of musicians who are not ashamed of their influences and remain steeped in the tradition, as evidenced by their exciting bop treatment of "I've Told Every Little Star." The music goes back and forth between languid explorations and unfettered segments. Among the three voices Michael Lewis is the most striking, even if the trio efficiently operates as a collective (and a tight unit at that). He is a resourceful and underappreciated saxophonist who patiently develops his ideas. In the future, one hopes that Fat Kid Wednesdays will get better distribution in the U.S. (they are signed to a French label), so that these talented musicians might get wider recognition in their homeland.

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