This MoonJune CD is more indicative of the outside jazz that label owner Leoonardo Pavkovic carries, or carried, in his very eclectic business, selling far underappreciated releases to fans athirst for high levels of intelligence and acumen. MoonJune, however, is one of the strongest prog/fusion labels in the world and has always gone for the stratospherically elevated. Thus, when you see them release another killer Soft Machine CD, or Simak Dialog, or any of a number of its roster, you know what you're getting is abstract sonic art that, were it graphic, would be hanging in a very hip museum, a LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art)...um, but one that was not founded of banking investment monies. In that esteemed imaginary edifice, Smith, Husband, & Carpenter would be providing the dizzyingly classy foyer music, the players having an enviable pedigree—having sat in with McLaughlin, Holdsworth, Hancock, Level 42, and others—to warrant it.
Tipping Point is composed of piano-predominant music, Husband the keysman, but drummer Smith and bassist Carpenter are wonders. The peripatetic Smith blends DeJohnette with Christensen and the 50s jazz skinspounders in a constant flow of percussive foundation-making. Carpenter twangs those bass strings for all they're worth, often reminding me of Larry Taylor (the "Mole", constantly burrowing muscularly into the ground, whether with Canned Heat, John Mayall, or whomever he decides to join up with) bending notes and runs every which way, as absorbing as Husband's and Smith's permutations.
This gig was recorded at the Jazz Bakery in Culver City, a stone's throw from my cave in Yuphattan Beach, and would to God I'd been able to attend, because I've always envied the Beats and their days, even despite my own 70s revelings as a hippie, and this CD reeks of cafes, dark cheaters, finger-snappingly absorbed intensity, lectures about Kafka and Ginsberg, and all the counter-culture activity that was the true genesis, along with LSD, of the 60s. The CD's songs are deliciously chosen, but the trio turns them around, completely absorbing every single one, making what was already distinctive and unique all the more so (you'll swoon when you hear what they do to McLaughlin's Follow Your Heart). Get ready for a time machine forwards and backwards on Tipping Point, and don't bother looking for handrails; just go with the flow.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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