MP3 BCR - Speck of Dust
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10 MP3 Songs
JAZZ: World Fusion, WORLD: World Fusion
"The back of the inlay card bears the mention "AfroNuclearWavabillyFunk-SwingReggaeTurskaBand" and it's as good a description as any. Led by the multi-reedist Rev. Dwight Frizzell, this group (the word "troupe" would also be fitting) proposes an endearing take on Sun Ra's cosmic jazz. Imagine, if you will, a band featuring African percussion, shakuhachi (a Japanese bamboo flute), Turkish lavta, harmonica, viola da gamba, a vintage Serge synthesizer and lap steel guitar, alongside reeds (saxes, clarinets and various traditional instruments) and rhythm section. Imagine a band churning up highly original arrangements of tunes by Sun Ra, Duke Ellington, Afro Nationale and Erik Satie(!).
"The latter's "Troisième Gymnopédie" provides the disc's opener, it's gentle, otherwordly melody accompanied by lap steel and set upon a smooth calypso groove. Then comes "Astro Caravan," or Ellington revisited by Sun Ra, with lyrics sung by lead singer Monique Danielle, a powerful, soulful voice. Ra's "Walking' on the Moon" and "Love in Outer Space" hit closer to the originals, but Afro Nationale's "Gowa" steals the show,its energy unmatched elsewhere on the disc. The group's original tunes have a hard time competing with the covers, but "Pale Blue Dot," "Blue Momo" (a highlight) and the anthemic closer "In the Night" are very good selections.
"Resting on a stable 7-piece core (Danielle, Frizzell, reedists Thomas Aber} and Alonzo Conway, guitarist Julia Thro, bassist Mark Thies and drummer Allaudin Ottinger (all doubling on percussion) and a cast of a dozen guests, BCR's sound is ample, rich and contagious. Released on the tiny imprint (Sparkling Beatnik), "Speck of Dust" deserves to find a wider audience. It has the quality and appeal to do so."
Writer, journalist (All-Music Guide, Ici),producer of Delire Actuel and Delire Musical, CFLX.
Described by founding member Dwight Frizzell
as "an eros-fueled space opera," "Speck of Dust" orchestrates the cosmo-love principle that has been at the heart of the band since BCR founding members were receiving direct transmissions from space-jazz master Sun Ra back in
1982. At that time, the band was known as the Black Crack Revue in honor of the cosmic crevasse making black holes negotiable for time-travel, alternative reality hopping, and all-purpose worm-holing.
"What other Kansas City band, with consummate musicianship, swings effortlessly from an orchestrated big band sound of Ellingtonian complexity to slow Jamaican reggae, to driving Latin funk, all in one set, and never misses a beat?
--Kansas City Magazine
"From live gigs with the Kronos Quartet to the delighted ears of dementians tuning in to the Dr. Demento Show, the unfazeable BCR never sleeps. Through appearances on stage for two decades with media-Medusoids like Sun Ra, Wavy
Gravy, the Ziggy Marley Band and Brave Combo; and live satellite up-links with Don Cherry and Alvin Curran; BCR has remained true to their cosmological roots in black holes, time-travel and alternative universes."
--Jazz Festival Magazine
Speck of Dust
It's impossible to just be a fan of BCR. Using such a label almost seems to deride the group's talent and creativity. The attraction is beyond fan-man-ship. With that Sun Ra "cosmo-love principle" thing, so preached by the Rev. Dwight Frizzell, experiencing BCR is akin to a religious conversion, an intellectual/spiritual/sensory happening like practicing Kama Sutra positions with Madame Blavatsky.
Speck of Dust continues the practice. Listening to it is so enjoyable that my only downer is realizing how little I know in terms of what it takes to create such great music. Forget the dead KC jazz guys. BCR is so imaginative and disciplined that what is heard on Speck of Dust transforms in the listener's mind as free form and spontaneous without the labor of knowing.
The refrain, "If you wake up now, it won't be too soon," sung by the fabulous Monique Danielle on "Walkin' on the Moon," recorded live at the Grand Emporium, isn't a plea to "get it" with BCR, but an invitation. Danielle's voice vibrates the bones like a deep-tissue massage done with velvet gloves.
Other superlative local musicians sit in. Bill Dye strokes his lap steel guitar on "Love in Outer Space," along with Paula Van Regenmorter on flute. Gerald Trimble's viola helps set the "monster" mood on "Blue Mono," a tune by Frizzell that reminds us "We're all evil smelling beast-eez." The song fades to otherworldly slurps, grunts and strains accented by Trimble's viola and Randy Weinstein's chromatic harmonica. Rocker Joey Skidmore joins Danielle on "Space Junk," leaving his guitar-whipped voice behind and comes out better for the collaboration.
Speck of Dust is BCR's first major release in a decade. But where this wondrous group travels, time is not relative. -Bruce Rodgers (Posted 8/5/04)
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