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The jazz-schooled punks of Go-Go Fightmaster celebrate their debut CD, a tour de force of in-your-face eclecticism

Wednesday, Jun 4 2003
A growing movement in the jazz underground is best summed up by the band name Full Throttle Orchestra, bassist Adam Lane"s spot-on moniker for his feverishly creative sextet, which combines confrontational punk rock attitude and sophisticated jazz artistry with an anything-goes approach toward composition. Full Throttle saxophonist adopts this same ethos for his latest project, , a high-octane quartet featuring two-thirds of FTO, including Lane, guitarist John Finkbeiner, and drummer Vijay Anderson. The group"s soon-to-be-released eponymous debut is a tour de force of in-your-face eclecticism that"ll compel listeners either to whoop it up along with the musicians or flee from the concert hall with fists in their earholes.

Go-Go Fightmaster refuses to kowtow to a palatable middle ground, which is a sure sign of Bennett and his younger-generation cohorts" genius or dementia (or maybe a little of both). The album presents bold original tunes like "Buffy Is Dead" (a raucous homage to television"s beloved vampire slayer), "Newts in Space" (a speedy/spacey extrapolation that feels like the deconstruction of a klezmer motif), and the title track (a strangely riveting, multilayered cacophony that"s heir to Ornette Coleman"s propulsive melodicism), as well as a couple of odd covers: Sun Ra"s "The Perfect Man" (done up with deep funk stylin") and "House Carpenter" (an allegedly traditional country song that sounds neither traditional nor country). Bennett and Go-Go Fightmaster do manage to temper their wild side for brief spells with the eminently groovy swing track "Mistrophy" and "Dream Song," the disc"s lone and quite convincing ballad, which shows that jazz-schooled punks have big hearts, too.

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Sam Prestianni


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