Fat Dragon

Dream After a Large Lunch

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Some jazz bands are very easy to categorize. If they aren't swing, Dixieland, cool jazz, third stream, or hard bop, they're post-bop, avant-garde, soul-jazz, or fusion. But Fat Dragon isn't so easy to label. Dream After a Large Lunch, the Boston quintet's first album, is fairly unpredictable and falls somewhere between advanced post-bop and the early fusion of Miles Davis and Mwandishi-era Herbie Hancock, with occasional hints of avant-garde jazz. Think of the late '60s and early '70s -- a time when Davis and Hancock were taking the fusion plunge and post-boppers like Joe Henderson were incorporating funk and soul rhythms -- and you will have an idea what this CD sounds like. Abstract originals such as "Italian Scallion," "Pow-Wow Now," and "Dharma From the Metropolis" give the impression that Fat Dragon's members have spent a lot of time listening to Davis classics like Bitches Brew and In a Silent Way. However, Dream After a Large Lunch is missing a main ingredient of early fusion: the electric guitar. Fat Dragon doesn't have a guitarist, and its cerebral jazz-funk-rock ideas are carried out with the use of tenor and soprano sax (Eric Erhardt), keyboards (Greg Burk), acoustic and electric bass (Jonathan Robinson), drums (Jon Babu), and percussion (Mathias Kunzli). Not that the quintet needs a guitarist; these improvisers have no problem keeping the dialogue interesting on this promising debut.

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