Dead Cat Bounce Home Speaks To The Wandering

What a blast of fresh air! This is one of the most exciting discs I've heard so far this year. Dead Cat Bounce are unmistakably "in the tradition," rather, "in all traditions." The four-horn front line deployed by composer Matt Steckler seems to have joyfully absorbed every exciting horn band of the last 50 years. The first influence that comes to mind on Home Speaks to the Wandering is Charles Mingus. The legendary spirit of his groups of the late ’50s to mid-’60s is exceedingly difficult to capture, especially 40 years later by a white sextet presumably not raised in the same gospel tradition. But the handclapping, hollering breakdown in the middle of "Hepcat Revival" doesn’t seem at all forced: this tune is a suite of ideas played with great verve and by the time this section hits, most of their audiences would be testifying right along with them. Yet another example of an epic journey is "Dis You Dear," which starts like Pepper Adams blowing over a rock beat, then jarring harmonies turn the soulful licks inside out until the whole thing culminates in a Dixie throw-down. They can rock from the World Saxophone Quartet to Vinny Golia to Duke Ellington within two minutes (check out "Hear My Flow"). Steckler’s arrangements travel into all sorts of harmonies and rhythms, all while it swings like hell. This is the entire Afro-jazz continuum on display, never once sounding merely imitative. (Innova)