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Album Review

President's Day may be a sort of transitional album in Seth Misterka's career, but it's one heck of a hot one. Moving closer to a danceable form of avant-garde jazz, riff-based and grooving, this CD is not yet as listener-friendly as The Demon, released a few months later. Here the pieces remain of large proportions (between ten and 23 minutes) and include pockets of solo and collective free improvisations. The instrumentation is somehow unusual, the dual saxophones (alto by Misterka, baritone by Brian Glick) and rhythm section (Seth Dellinger's double bass and Nate Smith's drums) being completed by accordionist Pete Cafarella, who brings in an energy similar to that of an electric guitarist. The album opens with Dellinger sawing away a merciless 14/8 line before the accordion states the main theme. Each piece features a couple of such riffs, off-the-wall solos, freak-funky tutti lines, and uncompromising group energy that makes the album as entertaining as it is exhilarating. The recipe makes the compositions interchangeable to some extent, but one hardly has the occasion to find this tiresome in the course of only 45 minutes. The spirit of Albert Ayler, the touch of Jean Derome, a hint of Etron Fou Leloublan and ska-punk, a taste for the bizarre, and energy to spare: it all comes together perfectly. Jazz purists can complain about the atonal, occasionally gratuitous blows; free improv purists can scream murder and say the riffs are passé. It doesn't matter because it works gloriously and when the CD stops spinning, you just want to hit play again to hear Dellinger go nuts one more time. Strongly recommended. ~ François Couture, Rovi

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President's Day - EP (Original Mix), Brian Glick
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