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Nighthawks: Citizen Wayne

Picture a David Lynch western or a 1940s film noir starring John Wayne and you’ll have an idea of the intriguing modern-meets-traditional attack embraced by the duo Nighthawks. On Citizen Wayne, the group draws musical parallels between smoky cityscapes and Old-West ferocity on tracks like “Mondo,” a foreboding, darkly percussive piece with muted trumpet at its center, creating the feeling of a walk through darkened streets. Bassist Dal Martino and trumpeter Reiner Winterschladen take inspiration in Edward Hopper’s famous painting for “Bar Next to the Roxy,” layering Asian accents and whammy-bar guitar quiver with sinuous trumpet lines and brash percussion, lending a sirenlike feel. They likewise infuse the standard “‘Round Midnight,” played as a muffled trumpet cry, with an arch of lumbering industrial percussion, conveying the timelessness of pain and emotion in heart-touching fashion. At the center of the duo’s unique vision is the three-song “Bronco Suite,” an homage to Italian westerns and legendary composer Ennio Morricone. Winterschladen’s trumpet plays the part of the lonely drifter on the pulsing “Zero Hour,” and “Manana” rattles and gallops over dark, sparse guitar work, filled with postmodern sound effects for a Twin-Peaks-in-the-desert feel. With its twisted take on familiar themes, the Nighthawks present a thought-provoking musical landscape with insight, humor and intensity.

Originally Published