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RAPPORT **** (Four Stars)

by L.M.

Plunge into the realm of the unforeseen when you drop this jazz number down.  Right off, the back cover photo gives you some indication of what is to come: four youngish kids in rapper attire, against the backdrop of a graffiti-smeared wall.  The jacket, too, will give you a clue: among the instruments is . . . an alphorn?
    Rough, pure, clean; these are all descriptions that come to mind about the CD as a whole.  Plunge has a garage band edge to it; a kind of disciplined bebop, humorous, chancy, yet all held together like super glue by the steady, unrelenting rhythm section.
    "Let the good times roll, man.  I got ants in my pants and I got to dance.: and off we go with this to guide us.  The first cut, Wagdanz, is energetic, with a film noir mood to accompany it.  Were Mad magazine's "Spy Vs. Spy" set to music, this might be a top pick for a backdrop.
    Suddenly the ride lurches and rounds into a dark tunnel, and we find ourselves gliding through 394, a whimsical, dreamy number, interspersed with what sounds like a rapper's record "scratching," providing points of reference, and jolting us out of our reverie.
    The mood changes again with Beneath the Wheel, faster-paced still, trombone and tuba immersed in a feverish, high-brow conversation that ends suddenly and amicably.  And picks up again with - the alphorn! - for all of 38 seconds, in Reveille.  Smooth, meditative; it feels like a refreshing daydream, stolen while the boss went to get coffee.
    But don't get too comfortable, 'cause there's a triple loop roller-coaster ride just around the corner.  Dog reminds us not to get too comfortable, as we're thrown into sounds of the electric guitar [actually elec. trombone] a la Jimmy Hendrix.  Oddly, though, it seems fitting and appropriate.
    All in all, this one's without a doubt worth the price of admission.   It's good to find artists like Plunge who are not afraid to take chances, and who invite us to do the same.



All content 1995 - 2011 Mark McGrain

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