Vibes and Brad Jones' AKA Alias
With Drawn, and Uncivilized Poise (Knitting Factory)
Reviewed by Harvey Pekar, Fri., Oct. 15, 1999
With Drawn (Knitting Factory)
Brad Jones' AKA Alias
Uncivilized Poise (Knitting Factory)Vibes contains three Jazz Passengers members, vibist Bill Ware, bassist Brad Jones, and drummer E.J. Rodriguez. That seems like a pretty stripped-down lineup, but they create a far greater variety of timbres and textures, because Ware uses four mallets, enabling him to play chords, and employs electronic effects that allow him to approximate the sound of an electric guitarist or organist. Beyond this, vibes are not the lead instrument; on three tracks, Rodriguez, a top Latin percussionist, plays unaccompanied. In addition to originals supplied by all three members, "Monk's Mood," "House of the Rising Sun," Bill Withers' "Lovely Day," Burt Bachrach's "They Long to be Close to You," and "Makin' Whoopee" are heard, but they're arranged in distinctive ways: "Makin' Whoopee" is done in 3/4 time, while "House of the Rising Sun" is given a psychedelic treatment. The improvising here is outstanding. With Vibes and with his own group, AKA Alias, bassist Jones demonstrates consummate ability not only on his preferred instrument, but also as a musician, having written all the tunes on Uncivilized Poise, which are quite impressive; "Three Guesses" has a floating theme played over a 7/4 beat, while the calypso-like "Drag Queen Race" uses 5/4 against 4/4, and "Po Man's Ecstasy" is a swirl of sound out of which evolve solos. His work can be percussive or melodic; the history of the jazz bass seems summarized in his style. Jones's companions, drummer Abe Fogle, keyboardist Jeff Lawrence, guitarist David Gilmore, and alto saxman/flutist Bob DeBellis, as well as vocalist D.K. Dyson and rapper Beans, who appear on two tracks apiece, hold up their end. Two contemporary albums, one collective past.