IS THERE A "Scandinavian sound" in jazz? Since the ECM label created European chamber jazz in the '70s, many a young Norseman has made his way to the New World, bringing along a tradition of melody, sensitivity and touch. Swedish bassist/composer Bruno Råberg came to Boston in the early '80s to study America's jazz heritage, but he stays close to home on this collection of original material. Using Scandinavian folk themes for rhythmic inspiration, Råberg's music has a decidedly Euro vibe. Finely crafted compositions, non-swing based rhythms, and open piano voicings conjure up visions of driving the family sled up to the fjord for the weekend. Råberg plays strong, backing his compositions deftly and soloing with skill and emotion. Tim Ray, a masterful pianist, always anticipates the next great thing to play. Saxophonist Ole Mathisen navigates the song structures with an ease that belies their complexity, and manages to rescue the soprano sax from it's long stint in smooth-jazz hell. Drum-guru Bob Moses plays with characteristic intensity in a style he virtually invented in the early '70s Gary Burton Quartet. Pop this CD in the car and head north!
-- Ed Friedland
THE RIVER CITY Rapists are stalking the streets and looking for some sleazy, X-rated jailbait action. In the immortal words of porno-punk shock rocker G.G. Allin, "Drink, Fight and Fuck" are the bloodthirsty aesthetics these depraved Austin punk molesters pride themselves on. Only the not-so-squeamish should feast upon these eight hate-filled, sex-starved blasts of teenage angst gone evil on this 18-minute mini album. Sadly, it's over quicker than a dozen premature ejaculations during a Sally Wong gangbang. Check out these tactless song titles for an indication of where these miscreants are coming from: "Go Down On Me," "Abuse," "Hatred Is A Way of Life," "Fix" and "Fucked Again" -- all done with tongue firmly planted in cheek, we can only hope.
A sizzling cover of "Let There Be Rock" by AC/DC caps off the crank-fueled, trailer-trash inspired lunacy and backwoods debauchery. Angus Young would soil his school boy shorts if he'd heard this. Fans of Allin, Dwarves, Zeke, Speedealer and the Candy Snatchers will salivate over these twisted Texas head bashers, who include ex-members of the Motards and Didjits. Lock your doors, hide the women and call the police before the River City Rapists assault and pillage your quiet town.
-- Ron Bally