35 Days in May

Bobo Bazinsky in the Bronx

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An interesting release from pianist Jeff Kaye with an intriguing mix of straightforward jazz, avant-garde sounds, and...circus music? Bobo Bazinsky in the Bronx is probably first and foremost an avant-garde album, though that may not be the original intent. There are sounds here from around the spectrum -- some relatively standard piano fare, some electronic funkiness à la the Headhunters (but not to the same degree), some avant-garde sensibilities reminiscent of Albert Ayler, some tinkling and clanking reminiscent of the Art Ensemble of Chicago or Sun Ra, and what might be best described as a Monk-like composition midway through the set. The album opens with what sounds like a smooth jazz guitar, but then adds a series of wandering horns and piano lines over the top. "20 Blind 20" is very close to a Prodigy backing track, with breakbeats and modern synths galore. The title track continues this, but adds some more jazz pieces with a stronger horn presence and a bit more melody. Kaye's rendition of "There Is No Greater Love" begins with a mild circus feel, but quickly becomes very reminiscent of Monk's great compositions, courtesy largely of Kaye's able playing and/or mimicry. "Country Wizard" introduces another set of atmospheric electronica, followed by some '70s-style organ improvisation in "The 'In' Crowd." After the aforementioned pseudo-Headhunters funk of "The Big Smoke," the album finishes on a new rendition of "Ain't Necessarily So" that moves from a straightforward lounge piano piece with vampy vocals to a funkier piece of jazz and eventually to a funky breakbeat with Brazilian kicks. This album moves all over the charts -- the compositions are here and there both in genre and in quality, but the performances are generally always on the mark. Worth a listen for some modern fusion ideas.

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