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Artist: JIM PUGLIESE'S PHASE III With MARC RIBOT/KATO HIDEKI/MICHAEL ATTIAS/MARCO CAPPELLI/CHRISTINE BARD
Title: Live @ Issue Project Room NYC
Label: Improvvisatore Involontario 08           Country: Italy
Format: CD           Status: AVAILABLE           $15.00

Description: Featuring Marco Cappelli & Marc Ribot on guitars, Michael Attias on alto sax, Kato Hideki on electric bass and Christine Bard & Jim Pugliese on drums & percussion. More than a decade ago, Marc Ribot had a band called Shrek that had a revolving cast of players although Jim Puglese and Christine Bard were both in most (all?) versions of the band. Their one studio disc was released in 1994. Shrek often had two guitarists and usually two drummers. So, this disc is sort of an extension of that band. Although that band had it ups and downs, this project is consistently strong.
For Phase III, Jim Pugliese has written most and conducted all of the material, besides one obscure cover and one traditional piece. "Phased and Confused" opens and has an odd funky groove with boisterous sax and a couple of twisted, nearly Beefheartian guitars. Ribot plays some ancient wah wah and takes a truly sick guitar solo. "Kundu" is a cool cover of an ethnic song by Nii Tettey Tetteh & Kusun Ensemble. It sounds like one of great Ethiopian trance/groove tunes with some haunting sax by Mr. Attias and crafty guitar by Marco. "Fresh" takes another Afro-like groove and turns it inside out with some more splendid skronk guitar by Marco. The piece into a bent punk/funk romp with screaming sax and scary guitar. Still, it is totally tight and focused. A strange combination of influences. I dig how "New Cued" sounds as if it is one of those Zorn game pieces that are if fact hand cued or directed. Jim has done great job of using the talents of each member and keeping everything tightly focused. After a short bit of herky-jerky conduction, Phase III covers a song by Konono II! Konono is that great Congolese band that features three electric mbira (thumb piano) players up front. This is yet another massive, festive, twisted Afro/funk groove tune with a slammin' beat. "Slipped" starts out very softly and slowly builds with a strong drum solo in the middle, eventually exploding into a hyper-rocking thing before fading away once again. What I like most about this disc is that the drums are often in to center of most of the pieces, yet rarely solo and often keeps things focused just right. I also love the way Jim has both guitarists playing very different yet complimentary parts on the piece where they play together. On "Calhaitian," different sections of the band overlap while a few different lines intersect, building up or down yet remaining connected to the whole structure of the piece. The final piece, "Kariga Mombe" features some lovely mbira and a delightful, haunting traditional African melody. This is one of the most interesting and riveting discs that I've in a while from a band that sounds ethnic but is just as unique. - BLG
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