All About Jazz-New York review by Terrell Holmes


Lisa Mezzacappa’s Bait and Switch – What Is Known (CF 192)
Lisa Mezzacappa, a California-based composer, bassist and leader of the ‘garage jazz’ band Bait & Switch, writes original tunes that are, ironically,
inspired by gigs where she and her bandmates shared solid improvisational moments. What Is Known comprises these augmented snapshots, played by the band with vigorous abandon. Mezzacappa’s plucked intro opens “Richard’s House of Blues”, a lively free-for-all. Guitarist John Finkbeiner then enters the fray with some sharp,
eccentric riffs. Tenor man Aaron Bennett joins Finkbeiner in the whirlpool and the men form a sonic tornado, spiraling down to near silence until Mezzacappa restarts the tune with a rumbling arco. Bennett and drummer Vijay Anderson support Finkbeiner’s musings on “Zzllzzpp” before the saxist steps in for some Trane-ish wailing, soloing above the dramatic group ostinato. Bennett brays like a donkey and squeals like a castrato under duress on “The Aquarist” and Captain Beefheart’s “Lick My Decals Off, Baby” is a burlesque blues with rock overtones as Finkbeiner’s guitar pushes Bennett’s gutbucket sax. Mezzacappa’s solo version of “I’ll Be Right Here Waiting”, written by the late drummer Steve McCall, is a lovely change of pace, her pizzicato opulent in tone and texture. She also plucks and bows madly on the impressionistic “The Cause and Effect of Emotion and Distance”, complemented by Bennett’s layered harmonics. “Ponzi”, with its Police-like ska overtones, quickly blossoms into a jazz burner, Finkbeiner and Bennett bracketing a fierce mano-a-mano by Mezzacappa and Anderson. Bassist and drummer also drive the raging storm that is “Catalypsoclysmic”. The title track is a total blowout with Mezzacappa’s pizzicato bridging the wide shores of anarchy supplied by Bennett and Finkbeiner, the chaos continuing on “Push/Pull” as Bennett flits around Finkbeiner’s repeated figure with elephantine bursts. Mezzacappa and her band of merry men plunder the jazz canon and delightfully toss the treasures
about, playing with a bold approach and delightful musicality. What Is Known is no holds barred all the way, so bring your best wrestling moves and dive in.

+ There are no comments

Add yours