When I first caught hold of the name Dennis Rea, I thought "Oh, hmm, maybe the son or brother of Chris Rea," and, as I reallllly like Chris Rea, was ready for some great mainstream rock. Hoo-boy, I couldn't have been more wrong! Dennis isn't the son of Chris and if he were, he woulda blown the esteemed chartrocker out the back door long ago. This guy is the guitarist and leader of Moraine, the earthquake structure I first became acquainted with him through, a band that's actually a cyclonic force of nature and as fusiony as they come. Well, so is Iron Kim Style, and the ensemble marries Miles Davis to King Crimson in the very first long cut, Mean Streets of Pyongyang, the squalling child of Live Evil and Earthbound.
All 10 cuts of Iron Kim Style (simultaneously a tribute to martial arts Grandmaster "Iron" Kim and a jab at Kim Jong Il) were composed spontaneously in studio by this five man ensemble centered in Rea's blazing axe. The peripatetic Ryan Berg anchors the event with an energetically stabilizing bass, giving permission to his fellows to erupt and ramble. This of course cuts Bill Jones' trumpet loose in some inspired 70s era Davis lines (though I'm picking up Freddie Hubbard as well) as Thaddeus Brophy places a 12-string into the mix atop Jay Jaskot's tumblingly talkative drumwork, a percussion backdrop that's as fully and irrepressibly participatory as it is rolling timepiece.
Amid the fury and fragmenting tectonic shifts, also expect fractured balladry, as in Amber Waves of Migraine, a slow spooky blend of John Abercrombie, Hubbard's moodier CTI ventures, and dark purgatorial quiescence. That the entire content was composed on the spot is rather jarring: these gentz follow each other with almost shocking precision, alert to each others' subtlest cues and signs, cohesive while fully independent in each line and measure—even the slipperiest individual extensions in spacey comps like Dreams from Our Dear Leader. It all makes for listening that's repaid time after time upon each listen.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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