All About Jazz Italia, May 2009

Review of Fast 'N' Bulbous - "Waxed Oop"

The Captain Beefheart repertoire continues to provide suggestions and solicitations to the sextet led by Phillip Johnston and Gary Lucas. In this album you can hear the more intense and traditional blues of the first composition and the iconoclastic madness of "The Blimp" and of the most part of the other songs, carefully selected by the two leaders and arranged with great attention to details and with great sense of irony.

Moreover, these characteristics have always been very evident in all projects of the brilliant Phillip Johnston and we could not expect anything different after the good start that this project - dedicated to Captain Cuordibue - had with the album “Pork Chop Blue Around The Rind” ( published by Cuneiform in 2005). In the end, with the last song, the surprise comes with the voice of Robyn Hitchcock. But at this point, with the guts of the Captain now exposed without any hesitation, it's a surprise at all relative, but pleasant.

Perhaps in this second album of a series that we hope very long, the scent of rural blues faces with more clarity over the previous year, but doesn’t ever assume a dominant aspect, but it remains an important right which should not be to the detriment of rest. What else remains is to be discovered, but certainly there is much meat to the fire and everyone can decide for themselves which side to face the rich barbeque. And who wants to dance on the riff of "The Past Sure Is Tense" can do freely, even if the symmetry is never guaranteed. Indeed we may say that it is its absence.

As already happened on the album earlier this sextet, Beefheart's compositions seem to take on new hues, perhaps entirely unexpected for the author himself, in the arrangement for four horns that can pull off unexpected echoes and mysterious similarities. The trombonist Joe Fiedler scratches without fear and the trumpet of Rob Henke launches in a vacuum, without fear to get to the bottom of the ravine. An aggressive riff as that of "Dropout Boogie" (which draws in part as "You Really Got Me" by Kinks) becomes devastating in the hands of these seven guys and the acid controcanti of Gary Lucas guitar, in the next "You Know You're a Man”, make us understand that the streets of the rock can still reserve many surprises. The rhythm of Jesse Krakow and Richard Dworkin moves always with the right rhythmic souplesse, without having to miss the evil, as happens on time in devastating medley "Click Clack / Ice Cream For Crow."

When the turn of Phillip Johnston and Dave Sewelson comes, jazz seems to find the right way, but distinctions of this kind have no reason to exist. As it is well demonstrated by the mysterious "Well," here is the marriage between the sun and the moon and who cares if marketing decided that the labels used to distinguish the types of music. Long live to the Captain and his worthy squires. Down the markettari (*this means musician who play not for passion but just for money), and their pseudo-science full of outdated myths.