[18 May 2008]
The lion’s share of this latest project from one-man groove theorist and jazz-centric polymath Andy Milne was apparently composed as part of a “New Works” commission from Chamber Music America. If that conjures up any misguided preconceptions, the press release puts us right by citing Thelonious Monk and Van Halen in the same breath. There’s no Galliano or Steely Dan, though, two of the most glaring influences on Milne’s hyper-polished, socially aware cerebro-funk, much of the Becker/Fagan intimations filtering through the dry, bright restiveness of Loren Stillman’s sax. Truth be told, “percussive poet” John Moon could do with a little of Fagan’s sardonic bite, or Rob Galliano’s fire, his quasi-hysterical, love-it-or-hate-it delivery often jarringly adrift inside Milne’s harmonic prisms. Sans MC, the quartet (completed by Chris Tordini and Sean Rickman) tantalise with cinematic sketches like “Monk Walks” or “Three Duets”, the latter spiked with the orientalist burr of Gord Gridina’s oud.