PERFORMER: Chris Cheek (sax), Henry Hey (keys), Tim Lefebvre (bass), Keith Carlock (drums)
CATALOGUE NO: 0198889GLA
The second release from New-York jazz collective Rudder has a streetwise cover of a melting ghettoblaster. This is apt for a disc that melds many styles, in a splurge of attitude-filled jazztronica, heavy rock beats and shuddering bass grooves. Saxophonist Chris Cheek, a sideman of Charlie Haden’s Liberation Orchestra, hits the effects pedals hard while keyboardist Henry Hey conjures a range of sounds from squelching electronica (‘Innit’) to soaring soulful organ solos (‘Lucy’).
‘Tokyo Chicken’ is a track you’ll either love (I do) or hate, with its deliberate clucking chords, overlaid by demented sax, and underpinning stamping rhythm. It’s apposite that bassist Tim Lefebvre, who played on the Ocean’s Eleven films, is setting the groove here.
Those films took the jazz elements of underground producer David Holmes’s sound out to a receptive mass audience. What Rudder do so successfully is combine ingenius jazz musicianship with underground appeal. Neil McKim