Exploding Customer

Live at Glenn Miller Café

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First of all, this group deserves attention because of its name -- and the fact that it's a jazz group, not some punk or heavy metal band that would emphasize its implied violent side. Exploding Customer is led by saxophonist Martin Küchen, who also appears to be the senior member in this young Swedish quartet. The group's brand of post-bop meets the freedom of fire music without indulging in its excesses -- Albert Ayler must be a major influence. Küchen and trumpeter Tomas Hallonsten form the front line, backed by bassist Benjamin Quigley and drummer Kjell Nordeson. Küchen's writing keeps things on the threshold of chaos, melodies constantly threatened by the creative soloing, rhythms often on the verge of being overturned -- especially in "Tango du Prison," delectably odd despite its flawed French ("prison" is a feminine noun!). "Samael/Smash Hits on Several Exits" kicks off this live session with a bang, the full quartet blowing like crazy. Things simmer down afterwards with a few slower numbers like "Pygmi" and "A Broken Glass," but there always remains a certain level of excitement. Küchen and Hallonsten are not a fantastic horn line (the trumpeter seems to lack a bit of self-confidence; he should speak up more often), but they battle it out in an entertaining way, playing with honesty and warmth. This Live at Glenn Miller Café is not Ayler Records' best release in 2002, but it is a fine one nonetheless.

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