[acid-jazz] Feature :: Matthew Herbert Big Band, Date Course Pentagon Royal Garden - The Japan Times

From: Wesley (wesleyc_at_cox.net)
Date: 2003-09-08 20:21:10

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      Feature :: Matthew Herbert Big Band, Date Course Pentagon Royal Garden
    - The Japan Times

    nice! a piece on the Matthew Herbert Big Band and Date Course Pentagon
    Royal Garden, whose leader Kikuchi Naruyoshi recently appeared on Kahimi
    Karie's lovely 'Trapeziste' album.
    [Sound :: Lounge] http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SoundLounge

    source: The Japan Times
    The big band sound reimagined
    Special to The Japan Times
    Sun Ra Arkestra aside, a big band is an unlikely format for experimental 
    music. Too many players; too much history. Yet two veteran experimental 
    musicians -- electronica guru and performance artist Matthew Herbert and 
    keyboardist Naruyoshi Kikuchi, a stalwart of Tokyo's improvisational 
    music scene -- have lately made the big band their chosen format.
    Kikuchi's group, Date Course Pentagon Royal Garden, is an improvisers' 
    supergroup featuring, among others, noted drummer Yoshihiro Yoshigaki 
    and Otomo Yoshihide, recently renowned as a turntable artist but here 
    returning to his original instrument, the guitar. Date Course has given 
    many of these artists the biggest audiences of their careers.
    Mining the tension between their tightness as a band, responsive to 
    Kikuchi's subtle direction and the members' impressive abilities as 
    improvisers, Date Course puts on a rousing show. There are moments when 
    the shrieking horns are reminiscent of Stan Kenton's discordant 
    white-boy brass distortion, but Kikuchi draws his influences from the 
    freer end of the jazz spectrum with a modern injection of turntable 
    noise and psychedelic guitar. Hidden in Date Course's funky sprawl are 
    touches of Herbie Hancock, as well as the expected Sun Ra, and their 
    cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Hey Joe" is a set highlight.
    Matthew Herbert's Big Band is more subtle and has a far more subversive 
    agenda. Since "Bodily Functions," in many ways his breakthrough record, 
    Herbert has honed a jazz sensibility that harks back to the classic 
    songwriting of the Gershwin brothers and Cole Porter. The sounds of 
    "Bodily Functions" may have been sampled from belches and other aural 
    bodily emissions, but they were ultimately shaped into songs your 
    parents could love.
    The Big Band project was originally conceived as a performance piece 
    along the lines of Herbert's classic "Mechanics of Destruction." On 
    "Mechanics," he produced dance music from samples produced real-time by 
    destroying cheeseburgers, blue jeans, awful pop CDs and other artifacts 
    of consumer capitalism. With the Big Band, the idea was to apply the 
    same principle of sampling and remixing to a big-band performance.
    The problem was, Herbert has become such an accomplished songwriter in 
    the jazz idiom that it was difficult to see what his real-time sound 
    manipulations were adding to his band's performance. The additions of 
    electronic rhythms and sound treatments were almost gratuitous -- 
    distracting from, rather than embellishing the songs.
    However, Herbert's new Big Band album, "Goodbye Swingtime," is far more 
    successful, perhaps because the studio provides more room in which to 
    maneuver. Although there are certain points where you just want to enjoy 
    Herbert's smoky melodies, the additions are often used to underline 
    rather than detract from the bluesy, '40s mood.
    On his next Tokyo jaunt, Herbert's Big Band is playing the Blue Note, a 
    classic jazz venue, rather than a dance club. Perhaps he'll feel less 
    pressure to fiddle electronically and allow his band to let loose and swing.
    The Matthew Herbert Big Band, with Mugison and Dani Siciliano: Sept. 15, 
    6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m., Sept. 16-17, 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. at the Tokyo 
    Blue Note. Tickets 7,350 yen. For more information, call (03) 5485-0088.
    Date Course Pentagon Royal Garden: Oct. 6, 8 p.m., at the Liquid Room in 
    Shinjuku. Tickets 3,500 yen. For more information, call (03) 3200-6831.
    The Japan Times: Sept. 3, 2003
    The Eclectic Sounds of Japan
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