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Album Review

Barondown is the trio led by drummer Joey Baron with tenor saxophonist Ellery Eskelin and trombonist Steve Swell. Both musicians played with Baron on his Raised Pleasure Dot and Tongue in Groove releases in 1993. All compositions are by Baron, and will definitely satisfy those with an open ear to creative music on the edge, while the sometimes funky arrangements should make the CD much more palatable to casual listeners. Crackshot covers a lot of ground in its 11 tracks. Some of the highlights include the disc's danceable opening track "D.B." and "Toothpick Serenade," a hard-hitting gutbucket stab at the blues reminiscent of Julius Hemphill's early-'70s composition "Hard Blues." "Punt" sounds like the "weird" members of a high school marching band who finally cut loose at the big game and propel stoic tradition into artistic heights. All of this material was recorded live with no overdubs for John Zorn's Avant label. Challenging yet oddly accessible. Highly recommended.

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