After many years in the music business, saxophonist-bandleader-composer John Lurie has created a musical identity all his own. Best known for his mercurial work with the Lounge Lizards, Lurie has found a pleasant niche recording soundtracks for films like Get Shorty and Stranger Than Paradise. Accompanied by a number of talented musicians, including Marc Ribot, John Medeski, Calvin Weston, and other assorted Lounge Lizards, Lurie displays an impressive ability to create lively and evocative film music. While Lurie only performs on half of these compositions, his sonic vision is both distinctive and eclectic. Bouncing stylistically from downtown funk and progressive soul to chamber jazz, rock, and tribal percussion workouts, Lurie's mood-inducing orchestrations are witty, passionate, and consistently engaging.
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John Lurie's so-called "non-jazz" approach is in full flower on this fascinating record. The ever-growing (nine-piece at this point) band builds layers of rhythm and melody with unique effect throughout. On "The Birds Near Her House," a serpentine melodic line weaves through a steady rhythmic bed, building to a frenetic climax. "Scary Children" is a foreboding dirge that still manages to exude true humor. Perhaps that is the most significant aspect of this music: it has real character and life. It doesn't just groove – it starts a conversation.
The Lizards, led by neo-saxman John Lurie, were best known for their outsider approach to bop. This is perhaps their best work, filled with humor and a solid melodic sensibility. Marc Ribot's angular guitar and the complement of Evan Lurie's piano make the disc a particular delight. Madhouse jazz for the unhinged.