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Exploding Customer: Live at Tampere Jazz Happening

My tolerance for shticky jazz has worn to a nub–even when it’s as creative and well played as this. Perhaps living through the Time of Great Irony (otherwise known as the Downtown New York City scene in the ’80s and ’90s) did the trick. I learned first-hand how an artist can adopt an absurdist stance as a way of avoiding deeper issues.

Exploding Customer irritated me off the bat with “Mr. BP (D),” their circus gallop of an opener. They compounded my dislike with the goofy, klezmerlike second tune, “Child, Child.” Later, the group turned the wackiness down a few notches (or I become inured to it) and I eventually found myself admiring the articulate trumpeter Tomas Hallonsten and endearingly blowzy saxophonist Martin Kuchen. Bassist Benjamin Quigley is competent and unassuming. Superadept drummer Kjell Nordeson, on the other hand, is gifted but facile, which is probably right for this band but wrong for me. These guys can play, and I respect the hell out of their ability. There’s an audience for this, but I’ll wait outside.

Originally Published