King Chubby

King Chubby Is

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The members of King Chubby have played with folks like John Zorn, Pat Metheny, and Yoko Ono. They also all are involved with writing academic music books, inventing their own instruments, figuring out what multimedia project they should apply their Guggenheim grant to, or something of that heady nature. So King Chubby Is isn't going to be the type of record to groove to while driving with the top down, is it? Oh, but it is, in fact it's so groovy, so fun, so dubby, it could have been titled "King Tubby Meets Can and Tortoise Uptown" or something. Smart with genuine heart, King Chubby are the often promised, never delivered combination of loft jazz and jam bands come to life, whether they meant it or not. The moody "Microgrand" is the only thing approaching "difficult"; everything else moves to a beat, not always 4/4 but a beat you can dance to even if it's just a freaked-out space dance. Press releases make Robert Dick sound like the main man (he's the flutist who gave the world the awesome Other Flute album and invented the Glissando Headjoint doohickey), but King Chubby is a band, a band of equals with stunning communication. Drummer Michael D'Agostino and bassist Mark Egan are a rock-solid rhythm section that knows when to embellish and when to support, keyboardist Ed Bialek creates the atmosphere, while Dick and Will Ryan (reeds, percussion, narration, and just about everything else) supply the wandering -- not noodling -- melodies. W.B. Yeats' "Golden Apples of the Sun" poem, beat poetry, and studio banter are used as lyrics in a noncheeseball way and the bits of playfulness keep the listener from being totally spirited off the ground. Introspective, approachable, and filled with substance, the only bad thing you can say about this unclassifiable album is that it ends.

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