Slavic Soul Party!

Teknochek Collision

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American Balkan brass -- it's not a bad idea, and given a bit of twist on Teknochek Collision by the fact that bandleader Matt Moran's Brooklyn-based ensemble has little if any true Balkan connections. If you like the big sound of the Balkan brass bands, this will seem a little different. There's no pedal-to-the-metal soloing, and there's a decidedly jazzier take to the improvising at times, but it remains a thrilling ride, albeit on better roads. With a mix of somewhat tweaked traditional Balkan material and originals, Slavic Soul Party! can raise a good head of steam, while thankfully making no pretense to be something they're not. This is their interpretation of a musical culture, refracted through their own prism, and actually stronger for it. Certainly there's not a bad tune here, with plenty of excellent playing, the solos concise and sharp, and the rhythms more than a backbeat. You might miss the tortuous turns, which have been smoothed out here, but there's no doubt that this Americanized version can hold its own anywhere in the world. The vocal cuts shimmer with some excellent, passionate singing, and the whole thing is a real success.

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