Bright Dog Red, the Albany-based avant-everything octet piloted by drummer extraordinaire Joe Pignato, has mastered the art of the groove. The rhythmic wizardry BDR effortlessly cranks out is the foundation of its raucous, all-embracing attack, and Under the Porch, a 12-song, electronics- and effects-laced workout, takes that attack to a new level, thanks in part to the group’s newest member: Tim Lefebvre of David Bowie’s Blackstar band fame and formerly of Tedeschi Trucks Band, who joins Tyreek Jackson and Anthony Berman in a troika of rock-solid bassists. The heavy-hitting BDR once again proves impossible to pin down: They can potentially appeal to jam-band, funk, rock, or hip-hop devotees ready to raise the roof.
With the band unable to be in the studio together due to COVID, Pignato sent his improvised drum tracks over the web to his bandmates, then pieced together all the parts he got back. What emerged from that process is a pandemic miracle of sorts, and a cohesive clinic from start to finish.
One word, albeit an overused music-critic term, is apt in describing the tunes of Under the Porch: bangers. As they showed on their previous album, last year’s In Vivo, BDR hit on all party cylinders. The foot-tapping “Pardon Me,” “On the Avenue,” and “Away for Breaks” suggest Of Human Feelings-era Ornette Coleman jamming with Parliament. Few free-improv groups can lock in so deeply while being completely off the cuff. In the case of Under the Porch, not even being in the same room together makes that feat all the more eye-popping.
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