Enter the Mowo!
Mocean Worker's Enter the MoWo! (MoWo!) is an uneven tribute to jazz boogaloo. Despite such esteemed guests as Bill Frisell, Houston Person, Jane Monheit and Steve Bernstein, the CD can't shake much of its kitchiness. Worker is actually Adam Dorn, the son of legendary producer Joel Dorn, so it comes as no surprise that the disc's most significant references are the glorious sides his dad produced for Atlantic. In fact, Dorn even loops Rahsaan Roland Kirk's flute playing in tandem with vocals by Rhinocerose's Franck Gauthier on "Shamma Lamma Ding Dong." The nonsensical song title should give you clear indication of the results; the tune sounds like some discarded Us3 track. Actually, much of Enter the MoWo! has a musty scent to it, from the Portishead-sounding ballad "I'll Take the Woods," featuring vocalist Ambrosia Parsley, to the acid-jazz opener "Chick a Boom Boom Boom." Things freshen up on the groovy bossa nova "Salted Fatback," featuring wonderful work from Person and Frisell, and the dramatic "Move," which, thanks to Hal Willner's turntable work, has the cinematic sweep of a Blaxploitaton flick chase scene. The disc's best moment, however, is Dorn's remix of Nina Simone's "Blackbird," which manages to sound less trendy and more singular as he places the singer's plaintive cries in a cavernous soundscape of ghostly reverb, eerie percussion and rippling piano.