Thursday, August 30, 2007

Digital Primitives

Digital Primitives (Hopscotch) is rapidly becoming one of my favorite jazz records of 2007. As opposed to two other favorites this year - the crunk jazz of 4 Corners, and the muscle funk of (((Powerhouse Sound))) - Assif Tsahar, Cooper-Moore, and Chad Taylor take a minimalist approach to jazz not unlike some of Kahil El'Zabar's 90's output.

Assif Tsahar plays tenor sax and bass clarinet, blowing simple yet forceful melodies and themes. Chad Taylor on drums and m'bira adds skittering beats, while multi-instrumentalist Cooper-Moore for the most part controls the low end (their MySpace-page lists hand crafted instruments - diddley bo, banjo, mouth bow, flute, drums. He played piano on one of the best jazz records of the 90's, William Parker's Peach Orchard, which Tsahar also played on).

The result is a kind of subdued funk, with traces of both blues, African music, and a touch of minimalist electronica in feel if not so much in sound. There is a song number as well, Ol' Saint Peter sung by Cooper-Moore, a lovely quiet blues.

Their website, as well as their MySpace, has sound clips from the album as well as videos of live-performances (click on the images). If you can't find the record at your local shop, Digital Primitives can be bought through the Jazz Loft (and probably through Hopscotch's web-site, though I'm not sure).

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