Convened as a way to fill time in between Skerik's myriad of other projects, the Syncopated Taint Septet was not intended to be yet another working project, but sometimes the music can take on a life of its own. Despite having been on the music scene for the better part of a decade, Skerik's Syncopated Taint Septet is the first effort to feature his name up front; but this project comes off as a highly democratic endeavor, with only one tune being co-written by Skerik and with leads shared by everyone.
This live set starts out with a group improv tone poem which finds a groove and heads off into "Philadelphia." A bit of New Orleans flavors "Let Me Be Your Voodoo Doll," with great solos by everyone. Riffing horns and solid grooves are the order of the day throughout this recording. The rest of the set pretty much follows suit; they're not reinventing the wheel, but they seem to be having a helluva good time. The rhythm section of John Wicks (drums) and Joe Doria (Hammond Organ) is fantastic (they play together as DOSE). Wicks can move from swing to hip-hop to drum'n'bass in a heartbeat, and Doria can comp or solo while nailing basslines with his foot pedals. The horn players are all among Seattle's finest; having played with everyone from Kate Wolf to Mudhoney and nearly everyone in between. There is an undeniable exuberance displayed on every track; you can tell these guys were having fun on stage, and sometimes that comes across better than chops-a-plenty (which they've also got). Ultimately though, the credit must go to Skerik for getting the whole thing together. Like labelmates Sex Mob, the Syncopated Taint Septet is determined to put the fun back into Jazz. Good stuff.