Gregg Bendian's Interzone

Requiem for Jack Kirby

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One of the most storied graphic artists of the 20th century, Jack Kirby was a legend in the comics world. Requiem for Jack Kirby is a post-bop salute to this visionary comic artist by percussionist Gregg Bendian (here on vibes and occasional glockenspiel) with his regular collaborators Nels Cline (alternating between clean and melodic Wes Montgomery-like guitar lines and harsher sounds like the angular, staccato plucking of "The Mother Box"), no-nonsense bassist Joel Hamilton, and flamboyant but not over-aggressive drummer Alex Cline. Although most of the tracks take their titles and inspiration from Kirby's work, the centerpiece track is the rapturous 17-minute elegy "Teaneck in the Marvel Age," which revisits Bendian's comics-besotted mid-'60s youth by setting up an almost nostalgic post-bop groove that recalls some of Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane's settings of the period, then periodically interrupts it with squalling solos by the Cline brothers that recall both the era's at times violent unrest and the inspiring effect of Kirby's unorthodox storytelling and vivid fantasy worlds on a young man's imagination. Even for folks who have never picked up a comic book in their lives, Requiem for Jack Kirby is vibrant and exciting modern creative jazz.

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