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Fabulous Drop

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Album Review

Curlew (a longtime fixture at the Knitting Factory in New York) was founded and has been led by saxophonist George Cartwright (who doubles on alto and tenor) since 1979. The version of the group heard on this CD features both Chris Cochrane and Davey Williams on intense yet occasionally humorous guitars. Ann Rupel keeps some of the music funky in an unpredictable way on electric bass while drummer Kenny Wollesen pushes everyone. This is certainly not music for "smooth jazz" radio, bebop purists or listeners who lack a sense of humor. Titles such as "Not Innocent," "Crazy Feet, Sensible Shoes," "Funny Fun" and "Dog House on the Moon" give one the correct impression that the performances are not overly sober, and Micheal DeCapite's liner notes seriously state that he goofed by mastering the music backwards; fortunately not true. Curlew's musicianship is impressive, the nine group originals are concise (only one exceeds 5:35) and the players are not afraid of using melodies, rhythms or conventional harmonies although they often joyfully dispense with the expected in favor of constant chancetaking. A stimulating set.


Formed: 1979

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Curlew were formed in 1979 by George Cartwright, who has served as the group's leader, saxophonist, and main composer for nearly three decades. Although Curlew have been viewed as pioneers of New York City's so-called "downtown scene," Cartwright was born in Mississippi and has consistently brought a roadhouse R&B swagger — not to mention the influence of early hero Ornette Coleman — to the band's sound. Throughout the '80s and '90s, Curlew served as something of an incubator and...
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Fabulous Drop, Curlew
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