Bonerama

Live at the Old Point

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Combos featuring four or five or more trombones were quite popular back in the 1950s and 1960s with groups led by Kai Winding, J.J. Johnson, and Urbie Green making several LPs. Now comes Bonerama applying that concept played by modern brass bands from New Orleans. Modern, not that this is avant-garde or free jazz (although an electric trombone is introduced into the mix of slide instruments), but rather funk rock music played in the way of a brass band with plenty of funk added. This talented group of players make this music sound much better than it probably deserves, which is a reason for their success. Sneak up on the audience by putting some life, rhythm, and imagination into the otherwise dull, sound-alike songs that numb the brain, and what comes out is something well worth listening to. In this live session at New Orleans' Old Point Bar, these players get more distinctive sounds out of the slide instruments than one could have imagined possible. There's also the wild swinging sousaphone of Matt Perrine on "Bap Bap." Leader Mark Mullins is responsible for some of the tunes on the play list. There is one legitimate jazz standard, "Lil' Darlin'" which surprisingly is played pretty straightforward with virtually no embellishment. There is some fine solo work on this cut, however, by Craig Klein and Brian O'Neill. All proceedings are propelled along by Russell Batiste's drums laying down the repetitive backbeat. There is some very imaginative playing by the group on this album as they take what otherwise may be dull and uninspired material and pump a lot of life into it. The noise of the crowd is heard throughout as background to this CD.

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