Available Jelly

Available Jelly

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This debut album by European ├╝ber band Available Jelly set heads to turning when it was first released on LP in 1984. Available Jelly features Michael Moore on piano, alto saxophone, and clarinets, with master drummer and percussionist Michael Vatcher, saxophonists Stuart Curtis and Barry Block, trumpeter Jimmy Serensky, and brass and electric bass boss Gregg Moore. Available Jelly brought newfound humor and precise, stop-on-a-dime, harmonic expanding arrangements to the sextet in a manner as disciplined as Franz Koglmann's, but funnier and less uptight, while showing off a ferocity of vision and elegance that most American ensembles wouldn't dream of, let alone touch. Check out Moore's "B.B.C.," where he touches on everything from Joe Jackson's Night And Day album, to Elmo Hope and Elgar. Then there's the completely reinvented and stunning read of Jagger and Richards' "As Tears Go By," and Nino Rota's already exceedingly graceful "La Gradisca si Sposa e Se ne Va" with the Latin rhythms caressed by mariachi brass. But it is in the band's original compositions, such as the many Moore places here, or Sean Bergin's deft creed and brass contrapuntal study of microphonics that actually swings on "D.F.U.T.C.," or Vatcher's vamped-out-'60s blues cum funky avant-circus jam on "Two Reeds" that make them so special and necessary. The album's closer, a heartbreaking interpretation of Abdullah Ibrahim's "Gwidza" caps off the disc with a bittersweet blues-feel and sends the listener off almost in awe at what has been experienced in the previous hour.

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