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by Gene Kalbacher

These four guys don't hail from New Orleans (to the best of my knowledge), but they've sho-nuff got the Crescent City spirit.   Second-line polyphonics, atmospheric dirges, go-for-the-gonads funk and a tinge of mysticism fairly explode from the grooves.  The group's instrumentation, though unusual, is a wholesome, self-sufficient distillation of the city's classic instrumentation: Producer/trombonist Mark McGrain (who penned 12 of the original tunes) squares off with tuba player Marcus Rojas on a low-brass, kick-ass front line; contrabassist Avishai Cohen provides a gritty, down-and-dirty pulse, sometimes offering high-harmonic relief with pizzicato guitaristics in the upper register, and Bob Moses is nothing short of magnificent as he slips, slides, glides ad grooves (check out cuts 10 and 11 in particular).  Using a drum kit augmented, it sounds, by African and Caribbean instruments.  Moses plays like a man possessed, whooping and hollering at times as the spirit moves him.  Dynamic, ever-changing and richly resonant, Falling With Grace is an apt title for this quartet recording featuring four interdependent, indispensable musicians playing live, loud, often fast and always together.  Numerous cuts from Falling With Grace are radio-friendly (not least the Nawlins-inspired "Wagdanz"), on their own or in tandem with the above CDs [Various Artists Collector's Choice: Featuring Professor Longhair, Rounder] (or with cuts from the Dirty Dozen Brass Band or Henry Threadgill, with whom tubaist Rojas has worked).  Falling With Grace has already charted in CMJ, and even if, like me, you're behind the times, it's not too late to join the parade.



All content 1995 - 2011 Mark McGrain

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