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November 2005

Barry Romberg
Barry Romberg's Random Access Part 3
Romhog

Drummer-composer-bandleader Barry Romberg is playfully subversive. This latest installment from the man who heads up Canada's Romhog label is full of surprises and good humor, along with a multitude of good grooves. From the off-kilter techno-funk of "Day 23" to the ethereal trio piece "Serenity Now," from raucous free-form jams like "The Plastics" to the dramatic 10-minute Elvin Jones tribute "The Two Elvins," Romberg displays quick hands, keen instincts and coloristic tendencies behind the kit, whether he's playing with mallets, brushes or sticks. He also reveals adeptness at electronic percussion on the grooving "Easy Forward" and the hard-hitting "Good Morning Mr. Phelps," both featuring some searing Scofield-influenced guitar work from Geoff Young.

Other solo standouts include violinist Hugh Marsh (playing some greasy wah-wah lines on the bluesy "Not a Spec of Cereal" that recall Sugarcane Harris' work with Frank Zappa), trumpeter Kevin Turcotte (featured in muted Miles Davis mode on the atmospheric "Big Rotten"), guitarist Levon Ichkavian (summoning up some McLaughlinesque lines on "The Long Haul," dedicated to Charles Bukowski) and Breckerish tenor-sax player Kelly Jefferson. Together they make quite a talented ensemble of musical subversives.

Originally published in November 2005
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