SS Puft

Seems Sometimes People Undergo Full Transformation

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Released a year after Live at Earthshaking Music, Seems Sometimes People Undergo Full Transformation introduces an expanded version of the SS Puft quartet, now a quintet, and offers two possible explanations about the group's name. One is the title itself, the other is printed on the back cover: "Simple Songs of Projective Unified Field Theory" (one of the musicians must also be a physicist). The first album featured guest saxophonist Dave Rempis. This one introduces full-time member Mike Hough on the same instrument. Recorded live, it features the same fire, the same modern creative jazz, but a slightly diminished sound quality. The signal tends to overload when things get excited (and exciting). Those who long for the ESP albums of the 1960s might appreciate this, but other listeners will find it annoying, although not enough to endanger the experience. Five of the eight pieces are written, but sometimes the improvs can sound straighter than the compositions. Take the closing "Trance...Language," for instance. Erik Hinds sticks to a bop bass vamp (actually performed on his modified electric upright bass, the "H'arpeggione"), while drummer Blake Helton keeps things in time -- even during his solo. On the other hand, pieces like trumpeter Jeff Crouch's "Just After 5" push the envelope of free jazz a bit more. The best track is Hinds' "World Waltz," a unpretentious tune in 3/4 that turns out to be quite effective. Not as challenging and rewarding as SS Puft's first album, Seems Sometimes People Undergo Full Transformation still provides its share of enjoyable moments.

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