[JPL] Rudder

Jae Sinnett jaejazz at yahoo.com
Thu Sep 6 00:29:52 EDT 2007

I've never really been a fan of the so called "jam bands." Mainly because of the lack of compositional depth, harmonic and rhythmic sophistication and high level improvisation. Then again...if the music contained this elements it would more than likely chase away the young audience it for the most part is trying to reach. That all too common dumb down thing. Now along comes "Rudder." I'm assuming that's the name of the band and the title of the CD. Fortunately I didn't react to the first song and trash it. It got better. 
  The harmonic direction is very different in it's intentions than lets say MMW, Bad Plus (I'll give them a pinch of love on their latest) or Soulive and the improvisation is deeper. It's more dense...closer to a jazz sensibility. Rhythmically I could use less repetition but Keith Carlock has a very cool, open...organic type vibe in his drumming. His bass drum sounds totally open... un-muffled if you will... which in this music - with the electric bass - is unusual in itself. It's tuned in the concept of the 18" bass drums jazzers use in straight up jazz playing with little or no dampening but his is bigger. It's a unique sound and the bottom is rich in resonance. The elasticity in his grooves shapes the foundation of the group. He's the key. He's captured more of the drumming vibe of groups like the Meters, Al Jackson (Al Green), Booker T, etc....than any of the drummers with the jam bands that I've heard. I'm sure that's why Donald Fagen uses him in Steely Dan.  
  I'm playing tracks 2, 4 and 7. It's certainly worth checking out. It's one of these type of recordings that comes along once in a blue moon that has the appeal for the younger listeners but won't scare away the seasoned jazz appreciators.   
  Jae Sinnett 

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