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Jaga Jazzist - One-Armed Bandit CD (album) cover

ONE-ARMED BANDIT

Jaga Jazzist

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.73 | 103 ratings

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fuxi
Prog Reviewer
4 stars If you've read some of my previous reviews, you will know I'm always on the lookout for bands that combine the wit of the Canterbury scene with the lyricism of Bill Bruford's Earthworks and the orchestral prowess of early 1970s Frank Zappa. And if there's one Zappa album I return to again and again, not just for the expert soloing, but especially because of its wonderfully bright ensemble playing, it's THE GRAND WAZOO, surely one of the very best "progressive fusion" albums - far more exciting than the comparatively monochrome HOT RATS!

I'm not familiar with anything Jaga Jazzist recorded before ONE-ARMED BANDIT... I simply bought this album because of the glowing reviews I kept reading, and I wasn't disappointed. The Norwegian band definitely seem to have taken a leaf out of Zappa's book. They've managed to resurrect that gorgeous WAZOO sound, combining it with 21st century electronics (never too much!) and with some exuberant Steve Reich-type minimalism. (Perhaps it 's more appropriate to speak of Reichian "pastiche", since the band take minimalism by the scruff of the neck - using repetitive phrases without embarrasment and working themselves into a frenzy!)

When seen purely as compositions (in which unexpected things tend to happen!) most of these tracks are a delight; and for the discerning prog lover it'll be even better news that instruments as diverse as tuba, vibraphone and electric guitar sometimes detach themselves from the "orchestra", executing neat little phrases and elegant miniature solos. A brilliant band; I can't wait to find out what they will do next.

fuxi | 4/5 |

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