Reviewed by Jay Trachtenberg, Fri., April 13, 2001
(Harliquin)Perhaps the most exciting, energized, and accessible branch to sprout and flourish from the jazz sequoia in recent years is the whole acid/groove/trip jazz movement. It's as if the hardbop/souljazz sounds of progenitors like Horace Silver, Grant Green, and Jimmy Smith got filtered through the funkification of James Brown and George Clinton. In the case of Gnappy, a lean 'n' mean Austin quartet that arose, in part, out of the ashes of party bands like Retarted Elf, you might also want to add saxman Eddie Harris and guitarist Charlie Hunter to the list of influences. Yet regardless of the myriad sources, old or new, resonating through Gnappy's roiling, scrappy sound, these guys exude a contagious, in-your-face attitude coupled with a brash irreverence that lends itself irretrievably to an original voice in an increasingly crowded field. Not to put all their eggs in one basket, they also seem to feel right at home when toning it down a bit and settling into a relaxed, cozy groove that recalls some of the more memorable CTI albums of yore. Throw in some M-Base/avant-jazz licks from saxist Marcus Cardwell, a smidgeon of dubwise to lend needed space to sometimes cramped quarters, an overall adventurous resolve that permeates throughout, and it's readily apparent that Gnappy strikes pay dirt in a big way on this debut.