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Kamikaze Ground Crew: Covers

If the band name suggests a certain madcap, postmodern flippancy, the musical agenda of this jazz-cum-acid-circus-music ensemble is at least slightly more serious than the moniker. The group began in 1983, as a backup band for the Flying Karamazov Brothers, filtering its music through the eclectic new-music ethos of the ’80s, and it has emerged today with wit and purpose intact, even if the personnel has changed. Here, founders Doug Weiselman and Gina Leishman enlist the admirable and definitively broad-minded musical services of reed player Peter Apfelbaum, trumpeter Steve Bernstein, tuba player Marcus Rojas, trombonist Art Baron and drummer Kenny Wollesen. The “covers” in question here range from material by Stockhausen, Hendrix (“Electric Ladyland,” done a la Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy), Satie and Huey Smith, as well as Los Lobos’ (and Latin Playboys’) David Hidalgo, whose sweet “Epilogue” closes things on a soulful note. All in all, it’s an effective ensemble stew, a fascinating series of adventures in interpretation and only occasionally a giddy musical experience.

Originally Published