Weekly Wire
Tucson Weekly Rhythm & Views

AUGUST 25, 1997: 


Fade To Cacophony Live!
Evidence Records

NO QUESTION, NO one has done a better job of incorporating the influence of Jimi Hendrix into jazz than Bourelly. In fact, it's appalling that he's remained as unrecognized as he has--Hendrix fans who are willing to settle for pointless remasters and dreadful bootlegs would be far better served by listening to this guy. Bourelly has spent a decade bouncing from one minor label to another, finally settling in with Evidence Records, the same bunch who brought us all the Sun Ra reissues. Not many jazz guitarists are also vocalists--and when they are, they usually suck--but Jean-Paul quite competently carries on the Hendrix legacy with his tonsils as well as his Telecaster. If you think of all jazz guitar music as boring bebop stuff, think again. Bourelly is terminally funky, and his hip-hop sensibilities smack you in the face with up-front urban lyrics as far removed from "Autumn Leaves" as you'll ever find. If you're in search of a bridge to the jazz side, you can't do much better than checking out this disc.

--Dave McElfresh


Easy Listening For Apocalypse Culture

A DARK, DEFINITIVE document of black culture and rap, Mike Ladd's Easy Listening For Apocalypse Culture is less about Grandmaster Flash and more about the fury of the Five. Ladd, a Boston-based bassist/poet/producer, never lets the music out of his hands. He also never lets it surpass the lyrical content, which is his obvious strength. An English teacher at Boston University, and unlike a lot of pretenders, a published poet in his own right, Ladd's poetry has seen the pages of "In Defense of Mumia, Voices From the Nuyorican Poets Cafe." On Easy Listening..., it's a wake-up call worth remembering. "I'm Building a Bodacious Bodega For The Race War" is a spewing rant where Ladd quips, "Snoop Doggy Dogg got a job, and now he's Snappy Dogg Doo." "Kissin' Kecia" marries a roaming bassline with a memorable mellotron flourish and clanking guitar. Sparse, willful and distinct, Ladd manages an enviable economy with his music. It takes a great patience and faith to rest on the lyrical content and strip the music down to the bones. Like a Moses of the mixing board, Ladd doesn't always say what you want him to, nor is he in the business of solely making the kids dance, but he got the good words written on the stone tablets, and that might make him worth paying some attention.

--Brendan Doherty



WATCH OUT FOR this unknown, vampy 20-year-old chanteuse. Inevitably, Hoffman will be an exceptional vocal/lyric force to reckon with as the millennium approaches. The entire universe will have heard of her by then. This Virginian singer/songwriter/ guitarist is primed to contact the far reaches of the galaxy with her engrossing debut release, Megiddo. Mix equal parts P.J. Harvey and Patti Smith, you have a volatile and ambitious poetic combination. Be prepared, however--this is not the wide-eyed, fake innocence of Fiona Apple nor the pissed-off male-bashing of Alannis Morrisette. Instead, Hoffman lingers languidly on sophisticated, dark and sensual Grand Guignol-inspired lyrical imagery. She's the female equivalent of the progenitor of mayhem and murder himself--Nick Cave. Hoffman deconstructs hero worship with "Rock Star"; other themes range across neurotic introspection, seduction, true love, selfishness and existential angst. Inspect closely the hilarious and morbid "The Cannibal Ed," a bouncy and twangy man-eating romp that boasts a delectable Middle Eastern rhythmic twist. You go, girl!

--Ron Bally

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