The President

Bring Yr Camera

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The second of three albums by Wayne Horvitz's short-lived band, Bring Yr Camera continued with the idea of an instrumental rock-oriented group playing (mostly) Horvitz's quirky jazz and gospel-inflected compositions. Dave Tronzo replaced Bill Frisell in one of the two guitar seats, adding a country blues flavor to several of the pieces, including the relaxed "Philip." Horvitz's sing-songy melodies can have a tendency to slide into an easy slickness, making the presence of Elliott Sharp, who provides healthy doses of gritty noise, essential to the success of the project. On tracks like "Our Hands of Water," the leader's electric keyboards are programmed in such a way that evokes an oddly warped gamelan sound, as though providing a uniquely American take on Indonesian street music. Drummer Bobby Previte, who was just beginning to come into his own as a composer at this point, contributes the exciting "Clear the Bridge," a piece that balances and sustains a strong tension in its earlier passages with an explosive release of irresistible rhythms and infectious melodies. Tenor saxophonist Doug Wieselman is cast less as a jazz instrumentalist and more in the fashion of reed players with rock bands or soundtrack ensembles (à la Gato Barbieri later in his career). While this lends a surface veneer that undoubtedly appealed to record executives at the time, it detracts somewhat from the band's deeper potential, although one must assume that this type of sound was what Horvitz was aiming for. Bring Yr Camera is an enjoyable disc and very much of its time, but one can't help but think of some degree of wasted potential.

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