Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Endangered Blood at Littlefield and the awesomeness of Skirl Records

Endangered Blood (formerly known as the Benefit Band) played a double-bill with Icelandic bassist/soundscape-ist Skuli Sverrisson. I was bummed that I missed Skuli's set, but Endangered Blood did not disappoint! I'm not sure, but I think it was all Chris Speed's music. He announced only the last tune they played, most of the set flowed together without any kind of lull. I'm a huge fan of Chris Speed's playing and writing. One of the most inspiring musical experiences of my life was seeing his band YeahNo play at the Knitting Factory and Tonic many years ago. All of the hallmarks of that group, and Chris' other bands with Jim Black were present in Endangered Blood: instantly memorable melodies, balkan-influenced odd meters, and a very soulful, direct manner of expression. There was even a cover of Monk's "Epistrophy" in 7/4. Usually, jazz tunes played in odd meters make me cringe, but this tune really sounded like it fit the band's language. A lot of Chris' tunes use just a single melodic motive, like Monk.
These cats are about to do a European tour AND a US tour! Can't wait to hear them when they get back from that. They already have a CD that will be released on Chris Speed's label, Skirl Records. Skirl is fast developing an amazing catalogue documenting the Brooklyn scene. I'm also excited to hear Ches Smith's new CD with his band These Arches. There's a lot of activity going on in the Skirl circle, they have events planned in Europe, too! Very Inspiring.

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