Gary Lucas

Street of Lost Brothers

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Lucas' second album for John Zorn's Tzadik label continued in the same vein as the first (Busy Being Born) with one or two variations. The opening, traditional "Yigdal" is a rousing, dance-oriented number featuring Zorn on alto sax, and this is quickly followed by one of Lucas' almost-patented, intricate, and lovely solo guitar pieces, weaving various folk patterns into a delightful sonic fabric. The bulk of the album consists of further elaborations on Jewish themes (or anti-Jewish, as Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" is strained through the Lucas wringer), blues, and folk songs. The unusual cut, compared to prior releases, is the largely improvised duo with keyboardist Walter Horn. Based on a traditional Hebrew song, the pair venture into far freer territory than Lucas normally explores. Listeners who have known and enjoyed his work over the years might still admit that he gets into a series of ruts (however pleasurable); tracks like "Sh'ma" perhaps offer hope of a way out.

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