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Catch the Fever's pan-genre rock sickness; Eddie Gale unveils why he's San Jose's "Ambassador of Jazz."

Wednesday, Aug 11 2004
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How does an old-school avant-gardist who made his name with the legendary Sun Ra and Cecil Taylor connect with today's kids? He meets them on the dance floor. At least that's what trumpeter Eddie Gale, San Jose's officially designated "Ambassador of Jazz," is going for on Afro-Fire, his first commercially distributed recording in more than three decades. But much like Miles Davis' get-a-groove-ons, Gale's attempts at vibing with youthful audiences are largely hit-or-miss. Cuts like "New York After Hours" (an acid-jazz vamp straight out of the Up & Down Club) and "Tribal Future" (an innovative amalgam of free-floating melodies, electro-squiggle percussion, and reggae-chill bass lines) are honest and musically compelling. But tunes such as the title track, which relies on corny drum-machine beats (even handclaps), ring hollow. Fortunately, Gale's horn soars like Mighty Mouse above the cheese. Eddie Gale celebrates his CD release with Mushroom on Thursday, Aug. 12, at the Make-Out Room (647-2888, www.makeoutroom.com) and on Saturday, Aug. 14, at the Starry Plough in Berkeley (510/841-2082, www.starryploughpub.com).
-- Sam Prestianni


Yet another post-whatever export from New York City, dance-punk quintet the Fever first crept into indie rock consciousness with the Billy IdolfrontingJoy Division rocker "Ladyfingers," from the band's debut EP (the song also appears on its latest full-length, Red Bedroom). But "Ladyfingers" exemplifies exactly what's wrong with these musicians, namely, their refusal to stick to a coherent style throughout each composition. Yes, every sonic space they inhabit -- from four-on-the-floor dance kitsch to noise punk to '50s swoon-inducing rockabilly -- is really cool, but there's just something wrong about cramming it all into a single song. What's so hard about writing choruses that vaguely complement their preceding verses? Perhaps this is what the ADD generation has come to. Experience the spastic (but fun) changes yourself when the Fever opens for the Moving Units at Café Du Nord on Friday, Aug. 13; call 861-5016 or visit www.cafedunord.com.
-- Abigail Clouseau

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