January/February 2000

Paul Motian and the EBBB
Play Monk and Powell
Winter & Winter

EBBB stands for Electric Bebop Band, and the unique instrumentation-two tenors, two electric guitars, electric bass, and drums-guarantees a different approach. The saxes are Chris Potter and Chris Cheek; Steve Swallow is on bass; and Kurt Rosenwinkel and Steve Cardenas are the guitarists. The ensemble playing is infectious, the soloing strong, and I especially like the tendency of the guitarists to play counterpoint lines behind soloists. The playful group sound is especially engaging on Monk tunes like "San Francisco Holiday," "Boo Boo's Birthday" and the always enjoyable "Brilliant Corners." I'm always glad to see Bud-perhaps the most underrated figure in jazz-get a nod, but I don't know if more somber pieces like "Blue Pearl" work as well as the Monk tunes. "Parisian Thoroughfare" is another story-though more familiar, it has had few readings this effective. I tend to be a moldy fig about jazz-rock but I think I'm a fan of this electric bebop-intelligent, swinging jazz with a sense of humor.

Originally published in January/February 2000

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