Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Ralph Carney’s Serious Jass Project: Seriously

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

Ralph Carney has always been a sort of wild man with chops. First in the proto-new wave band Tin Huey and later as an ongoing support player with artists like Tom Waits, his saxophone approach fits perfectly in screwball situations. Behind the jokes, though, it’s always clear that he can blow straight and fierce if the mood strikes him. So when he calls his own group a Serious Jass Project, expect the music to balance his irreverent sensibilities with a respect for his material.

Seriously, the second Project album, digs into bar walkin’, honkin’ jazz. Carney’s horn fluency makes him a virtual big band: He plays all saxophones, from soprano to bass, not forgetting C-melody, as well as clarinets, trumpet, lap steel and English horn. He also sings, though his Leonard Cohen-esque range might be his Achilles’ heel. A three-piece rhythm section holds it all together.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published