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Blue Dog: Lurch

They come straight outta the Motor City, sporting a sound at once familiar and strange. It’s Blue Dog, a quartet which handily skirts the issue of its jazz affiliation and happily dances along the fringes, where glimmers of Thelonious Monk, Henry Mancini (Monk-Mancini axis is bold on “Theme”), Knitting Factory goods, Nina Rota-like Euro sounds, and maybe even some Stooges touches add up to an enjoyable romper room of a post-fusion outfit. On their second album, the title track wriggles in and out of a quasi-tango, while “Surf” sounds like you’d expect. It’s not all as brainy as you might think. Rough edges, party-time rock guitar “leads” and simple vamps and melodies prevail, along with plenty of winking irony in the lining. Comparison Department: the band’s brawny, raucous sound is reminiscent, at times, of an admitted influence, Naked City, New Orleans’ hard-to-categorize Astral Project and, sometimes, the juicy, similarly instrumented Everyman Band (sax, guitar, bass and drums). But enough of that. It’s human nature to comparison shop, but also to enjoy a smart, good time, which is the underlying agenda here.

Originally Published