LUCKY 7S – Pluto Junkyard (CF 141)
Please welcome a truly brilliant septet which features – somewhat bizarrely – two lead trombonists (Jeb Bishop and Jeff Albert) and performs conspicuously intricate, ear-rewarding compositions, intelligibly articulated in invigorating swiftness, the cleverness of the arrangements at a persistently remarkable level. The rest of the lineup consists of Josh Berman (cornet), Keefe Jackson (tenor sax), Jason Adasiewicz (vibes), Matthew Golombisky (bass) and Quin Kirchner (drums).
This is easily one of the finest albums to come out of Pedro Costa’s imprint in the last year or so; persuasive compositions, nearly palpable structural mass, the instrumental delineation neat as a new pin. A refined complexity is deployed with judiciousness, never intended as a means to leave people impressed with pathetic flurries of bells and whistles. Illegitimacy and fury get channelled in energizing flows brimming with authority and, in a way, pressure. There’s something in these kids – look at those great faces inside the sleeve – which makes me think to each one’s different upbringing, to the juvenile (and probably ongoing) enthusiasm that was felt while practicing at home, dreaming of living a musician’s life in search of the purest mental freedom. You know what? Judging from Pluto Junkyard they succeeded, reinforcing the assumption according to which a mixture of precise directives and good-natured anarchy is the best weapon against cerebral stagnancy. Oh, and the rocking blowout “The Dan Hang” must be heard to believe: heavy riffage, muscular drumming and fuming squealing by an armada of clairvoyant pilgrims.
Had this writer been a po-faced Downbeat contributor, he’d have given this 70-minute CD four stars and a half. Being myself instead just a non-corporative nihilist bear amused by ordinary people’s illusions, who also happens to instantly recognize if an artist – and, in general, a person – is worth of a shufti, trust my words: Lucky 7s kick ass. Even if when they swing.