February 4, 2011

Fred Ho And The Green Monster Big Band | Year Of The Tiger

ARTIST:  Fred Ho And The Green Monster Big Band
TITLE:  Year Of The Tiger
LABEL:  Innova
REVIEW:  Fred Ho is a veteran bandleader, composer and baritone saxophonist whose music combines what seem like wildly disparate interests – free jazz, funky brass bands, Chinese traditional music, radical politics and popular culture.  Sounds like a recipe for disaster, but in Ho’s hands the results are typically compelling, accessible to a wide audience and come with a leavening of good humor that was once a staple of “serious” jazz.  That’s certainly the case here, especially when Ho and the Green Monsters take on the music of Michael Jackson (tracks 2, 3 and 4) and Jimi Hendrix (5 and 6).  Ho is really at his best on “Thriller” (track 4), where new lyrics turn Jackson’s hit into a sci-fi nightmare about commercialism and zombies, and “Purple Haze” (track 6), re-imagining Hendrix’s classic via The Matrix and Noam Chomsky.  It may not make sense on paper, but when you hear it you’ll be rocking out and laughing at the same time.  This stuff is way beyond category and absolutely worth hearing.
REVIEWER:  Bill Lupoletti
RECOMMENDED TRACKS:    4    5    6

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