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October 2003

Antti Kotikoski/Steve Tavaglione/J.K. Kleutgens/Vinnie Colaiuta
Cave Men
J2K

What do you call an album recorded at a studio in North Hollywood, California called the Cave? Bassist J.K. Kleutgens and guitarist Antti Kotikoski naturally call their album Cave Men (J2K). Tenor and soprano saxophonist Steve Tavaglione and drummer Vinnie Colaiuta join them in the Cave, and the quartet sounds purposeful and energetic throughout the recording.

Cave Men embraces the high energy of rock and the creative, improvisational spirit of jazz music from the beginning to end. Traditionalists will likely hate this album because of its exploration of modern sound texture; the open-minded will love it for precisely the same reason. It is powerful, well-composed, melodic music that aims to please the listener and not someone's agenda. On "Make No Mistake," one of the best tunes, Tavaglione's soprano sax is crisp and electrified; it sounds more like an electronic keyboard. There is a high interest in the melody because the band wants to present good songs that are remembered and respected. "Country" is another song that grows on you due to the fine guitar work by Kotikoski and Tavaglione's sax play. On "Sanctuary" the two hook up again for a fabulous call-and-response sequence. It doesn't matter who wins their sonic war either; the creative choice, like so many other moments on this album, accomplishes its purposeful goal.

Originally published in October 2003
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