Rudder

Matorning

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AllMusic Review by

Rudder's second album is a breakthrough not only for them, but all youth-oriented progressive funk bands seeking different strokes. With saxophonist Chris Cheek at the top of his game, keyboardist Henry Hey laying down sinewy, bawdy, percussionistic keyboard lines, and the heavy rhythm team of bassist Tim Lefevbre lockstep with drummer Keith Carlock, this recording sets a high standard for post-Medeski, Martin & Wood-type jam bands headed for 2010. They are raucous, raw, tight, happy to be alive, yet disgusted with social vagaries or political trappings that bring out the angst and frustration of Generations X, Y & Z. Cheek's tenor sax sings on the otherwise churning, New Orleans tinged "One Note Mosh," is actually serene on the slower funk of "Lucy" with Lefebvre's ascending and descending basslines, and jumps into the 5/4 organ-based "Lucky Beard." Hey, an excellent acoustic modern jazz pianist, plays a virtual cheesy organ for "Innit" among backward loops and a very tough bass stance, while producing energy on "Neppe" even though both of these tracks offer a diffuse focus far from laser-like. It's on the hard rock, edgy, and skronky "3H Club" or the wonky wah-wah flavor with R&B strut during "Tokyo Chicken" where Rudder establishes their multi-tasked identity and wider appeal. Then there's "Jackass Surcharge" (love that title!) in a 7/8 bass and drums workout contrasting Cheek's sighing sax, and where "Daitu" again boils up a storm of thunder like "Mosh," "CDL" offers a space odyssey à la Sun Ra. When this combo tours and blows audiences away, similar bands will be left in their wake, leaving Matorning as a potent reminder of how new music manifests in ways still inspired by retro sounds brought kicking and screaming into dance halls.

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