Jay Crocker Melodies from the Outskirts

It’s a stunning feat that captures jazz, blues, rock and soul in one fell swoop, but Jay Crocker executes it with ease. Perhaps best known for his work in the highway-hungry band, Recipe for a Small Planet, Crocker’s latest project reflects a decade long journey in sound. From splitting his lips in high school on trumpet, to wearing himself thin on the road, to letting his synapses fire over jazz studies in college, the boy is busting at the seams with music that needs to be heard. A recent returnee from the outskirts, where he spent a year squeezing the sponge of his musical subconscious, Crocker brought back a boon of aurally prophetic songs; a revelation of sound for which he needed a ten-piece ensemble to help him deliver. He soon gathered a shrewdness of Electric Apes willing to drink from his noisy melting pot and beat chest to his complicated arrangements. Yet, it takes but an ounce of courage to lose your self in the flow, where big band meets back porch and syncopated waves of ingenuity roll in from the peripheries to suck you under. Crocker’s got the spirit and unpredictability of John Lurie’s Lounge Lizards, but he presents a more accessible merger of avant-garde and pop styles. It’s a disc that could work its way into some unsuspecting stereos without any fuss. Crocker’s got something cooking in the pot that’ll suit almost everyone. So get some while it’s hot. (Saved by Radio)