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CD REVIEW: The Industrial Jazz Group - Hardcore
By Ben Ohmart - 09/09/2001 - 08:20 PM EDT

Artist: The Industrial Jazz Group
Album: Hardcore
CD Review: Mike Dodge ­ clarinet, ten. sax
Andrew Durkin ­ composer, piano
Evan Francis ­ flute, alt. sax
Daniel Glass ­ drums
Drew Hemwall ­ drums
Aaron Kohen ­ bass
Cory Wright ­ saxes, clarinet

are The Industrial Jazz Group, which is as far away from industrial as a musical term as you can get without falling off the edge of the earth. Industrial conjures up images of repeat play rhythm that is programmed to go on and on and on without a cup of coffee, with imagination being pawned for dance bars of inordinate length. What TIJG is actually seeking is that little seen area of play between Duke Ellington and Frank Zappa. A progressive nature of jazz in which rules are taken out and beaten like dusty carpets so that some fresh air can find its way in between the fabrics.

Now, you might say, ‘Isn’t all jazz progressive by nature?’ WHACK! Where you been? There are many, many, too many bands that might as well employ a metronome as a drummer, perhaps taking off a brief moment for an estranged solo before getting back to the unrecognizable tune. Then there’re the smooth jazz combos that are so lilting they’re causing too many traffic accidents when their audiences fall asleep at the wheel. TIJG is neither. They will squeal in reed harmonies and bass plunk as in ‘Skeeter Goes Legit.’ They will take Zappa’s electronic phase to task in the strange, microscopic, mini-vibe moment of ‘Fantasy on Cozy.’ And they’ll front a moment of mainstream puff as in ‘Plus or Minus Eleven,’ where the piano keeps the time signature rolling as the blow flows over it from various stereophonic directions. What they Won’t do is the average, the usual, the pompous.

Thank composer Andrew Durkin for that. He wields his arranging skills like a cat-smelling dog. It looks like a dog, it acts like a dog, but what’s that smell? Incredibly gifted, Durkin lays on his riffs and layers of prog stuffs with the cleverness of Miles Davis without the altitude of attitude. Perfect combo sandwich.

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