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Something Else!

January 27, 2011

Tin Fish Tango
by S. Victor Aaron

IPlunge Tin Fish Tango: NOLA-based Plunge is back again to follow up on their stripped down trombone-based brand of funky jazz found on Dancing On Thin Ice, Tin Fish Tango. Once again, 'bone player Mark McGrain leads a small ensemble with bassist James Singleton of Astral Project, a sax player (either Tim Green or Tom Fitzpatrick) and occasionally, sousaphone player Kirk Joseph of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Once again, there's no drum, and likewise, no problem. Though not explicitly rehashing old-timey jazz, Plunge brings jazz back to its root core, when brass ruled and full drum sets didn't yet materialize. With all but three or four instruments stripped away, it's easier to follow the melody and accompanying harmonies with it, and even the four group improvisations sound clean and orderly, yet full of original statements. The tempo changes plenty enough to keep you moving along from one track to another, from swing and funk to blues and reflective ballads. The spare but filling sound puts you right in some intimate setting like a dive bar in the French Quarter where you might hear something like this being played, only here it's with better musicians. Tin Fish Tango has got the fix for that kind of mood.

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