Call for Music Writers... Rock, Indie, Urban, Electronic, Americana, Metal, World and More

Music
cover art

Sacha Perry

Not Brand X

(Smalls; US: 13 Mar 2007; UK: Available as import)

Let me tell you about one really freaky experience I will forever associate with Sacha Perry’s Not Brand X. Okay, I’m watching a rerun of The Golden Girls sitcom, right? (Nothing good ever comes from watching reruns). It’s the episode in which the ladies place a winning $10,000 lottery ticket in the pocket of a leather jacket that Sophia unwittingly donates to charity. At the end of their quest to retrieve the jacket, and thus the ticket, they perform a good deed by donating the ticket to a homeless shelter.


Here’s the freaky part. Right when I’m looking at the screen like, “Say what?” and “Maybe I would’ve donated some of the jackpot, but not all of it,” I press play on my stereo, already in “shuffle” mode, and guess what song plays? Track number three on Not Brand X, “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?”  Makes sense, especially when the episode title was “Brother, Can You Spare That Jacket?” Now that, as Johnny “Guitar” Watson, used to say, is a real mutha for ya.”  Or, as Alicia Keys sang, “It’s called Karma, baby. And it goes around.”


Know what else goes around? Jazz standards. In this regard, Sacha Perry’s Not Brand X should appeal to jazz enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts, if for no other reason than the Brooklyn, New York pianist approaches standards, such as the aforementioned “Brother” and “Get Out of Town”, with aplomb and pizzazz. Accompanied by Phil Stewart (drums), and longtime collaborator Ari Roland (bass), Not Brand X is designed to show, as the title implies, that these pieces are far from generic. And they do, mostly, with dazzling piano work on “All God’s Chillun Got Rhythm” (check out that drum solo at about 3:45) and the sly playfulness of Mack David and Jerry Livingston’s theme for that “waskally wabbit” on The Bugs Bunny Hour, “This Is It”.


I’m skeptical of covers and remakes in other genres like, for instance, R&B, but not quite as skeptical about jazz standards. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t grow up with Gershwin or Porter, so I feel like I’m being educated when jazz artists interpret the classics. Or maybe jazz artists are better at standards than R&B singers are at covers. In any event, although a couple of compositions meander (“Give It Back to the Indians” and “Love”), Perry’s approach serves him well, as Not Brand X is seven tracks deep with over 50 minutes of music, and specially made to show you how it’s done.

Rating:

Quentin Huff is an attorney, writer, visual artist, and professional tennis player who lives and works in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In addition to serving as an adjunct professor at Wake Forest University School of Law, he enjoys practicing entertainment law. When he's not busy suing people or giving other people advice on how to sue people, he writes novels, short stories, poetry, screenplays, diary entries, and essays. Quentin's writing appears, or is forthcoming, in: Casa Poema, Pemmican Press, Switched-On Gutenberg, Defenestration, Poems Niederngasse, and The Ringing Ear, Cave Canem's anthology of contemporary African American poetry rooted in the South. His family owns and operates Huff Art Studio, an art gallery specializing in fine art, printing, and graphic design. Quentin loves Final Fantasy videogames, Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible, his mother Earnestine, PopMatters, and all things Prince.


Tagged as: sacha perry
Related Articles
20 Oct 2005
Classic Bebop piano with an amazing density of piano texture and a passionate commitment... righteous stuff of timeless validity, and the man is real.
Comments
Now on PopMatters
PM Picks
Announcements
PopMatters' LUCY Giveaway! in PopMatters's Hangs on LockerDome

© 1999-2014 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters.com™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.