Now Ear This Review:
JOHN LANG/Now Ear This: It ain’t all hippies up there in the Hudson Valley. This upright bass mainstay bucks being organic and goes electric for some smoking jazz/funk that didn’t leave the swing back at home. A tasty, in the moment kind of set, he’s dialing in a bunch of local jazzbos that know how to make it all shine as well. Did it really take this long to get some 70s nostalgia cooking and brought into the present? Well done.
The Midwest Record Review, January 14, 2021
Lend Me Your Ears:
Bassist John Lang’s Lend Me Your Ears, although recorded recently, is more boppish. Lang performs three of his songs apiece with two different quintets and an octet, all of which use completely different personnel other than the leader. The music is often quite extroverted, whether it is the rhythm changes of “Scuttle The Muttle,” the Jazz Messenger feel of “Art Lovers” (obviously a tribute to Art Blakey), or the Latinish “Thumbelina,” with the lyrical ballad “Communion” being a contrast. The lineup of musicians (trumpeters Nathan Eklund, David Smith and Bill Mobley, tenors David Noland, Kim Bock and Craig Yaremko, altoist Erik Lawrence, trombonist Andy Hunter, pianists Jeremy Manasia and Ehud Asherie, guitarists Justin Wert and Saul Rubin and drummers Andy O’Neill, Brian Floody and Phil Stewart plus John Lang) is filled with excellent and talented players deserving of being discovered. Straight ahead jazz collectors will want this excellent outing!
CD REVIEWS FROM THE FEBRUARY 2010 ISSUE OF THE LOS ANGELES JAZZ SCENE by Scott Yanow
The Kolotov Mocktails Play Dynamic, Interesting, Subtly Amusing Cross-Genre Instrumentals
As you would imagine, instrumental jamband the Kolotov Mocktails have a sense of humor. The mocktail part of the band might be a characteristically wry admission of how many styles and ideas they appropriate; and yet, they are absolutely unique. Their songs tend to be upbeat, the solos are purposeful and the tunes are catchy. Their latest album Ivy Hall is streaming at Spotify.
They open with Between the Ranges, a lively Grateful Dead-style instrumental by drummer Rob McKendrick. Violinist George Mason’s wildly spiraling solo is a highlight; the southern rock quotes at the end are predictably amusing.
Mason and pedal steel player Dave Easley take centerstage in Dancing on the Wall, McKendrick and bassist John Lang giving it a tight jazz waltz beat. Lang contributes Mr. Pants Pants, which could be the Alan Parsons Project with a more organic groove, guest Allan Walters’ Scottish smallpipes mingling with the layers of keys.
Easley contributes A Visit to the Zoo: with his percussive hammer-ons and ambiguously lingering lines, along with Mason’s long, moody solo, this seems to reflect the inhabitants’ unease rather than a joyous family outing. The shift toward a marching raga, with Mason on guitar sitar, makes for an unexpected coda.
The group shift back toward newgrass rock with Acoustic Alchemy, a brisk number in an Old Crow Medicine Show vein. Fueled by Lang’s strutting, circling bassline, Coming to an Alley Near You is a bizarrely entertaining mashup of Jean-Luc Ponty, Kraftwerk and maybe Dave Tronzo in a particularly terse moment. Likewise, imagine Ponty trying his hand at Meters funk in, say, 1974 – with a pedal steel – and you get The Fuzz.
Mason and Easley trade punchy riffs in Raw Eel Sheets, a similarly mind-warping blend of Django Reinhardt and New Orleans funk. The Crack of Noon features Walters on the pipes again: it could be a Greer Coppins tune, or the Dead taking a stab at a highlands air. The band segue from there to close the record with Time Ebbing: the guitar/violin duel is pure Terrapin Station. If you smell something skunky and smoky coming from under your neighbor’s door, it might be this album.
New York Music Daily by Delarue, Decemember 13, 2020
More review on the way soon…