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The Friday Morning Listen: The Lucien Dubuis Trio & Marc Ribot – Ultime Cosmos

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Sometimes, the music chooses me…or at least falls into my lap at just the right time.

Things are crazy. I’ve managed to keep the crazy quotient down just a little by mostly ignoring the Washington DC health care ‘discussion’ (because it’s as much of a real discussion as “Yuh huh! Nuh uh!” was at Catholic school during recess in second grade), so that has helped quite a bit. Still, there have been big changes at the day job (big for somebody like me, Mr. Introvert), forward and nerve-racking progress on a couple of writing projects, and some really nutty weather. Let’s see, nearly a foot of snow (followed by two hours of snowblowing), another six inches plus rain (add an hour of snowblowing…during which I fell on my butt because I was too lazy to put the danged machine into reverse), a rise in temperatures, torrential rains (yay, new sump pump!), and high winds. Exhausting.

In the middle of it all, I discover the Lucien Dubuis Trio & Marc Ribot. Yeah sure, you know that I will follow Mr. Ribot anywhere. The man is fearless on the guitar, has huge ears, and is willing to hurl himself in just about any direction to complete an artistic statement.

Geez, that sounds so serious.

Ultime Cosmos is not serious. At least, not serious in that We’re Wearing Nice Suits, We’re Going To Play Jazz kind of way. Heck, this isn’t even jazz, not in spirit anyway. A quick read of the instrumental lineup would definitely make a person think ‘jazz’ — contrabass clarinet, guitar, bass, drums, but this record has more of a rock/funk spirit.

I can imagine Stanley Crouch turning up his nose. That’s a good thing.

Though Dubuis does switch over to alto here and there (check out the totally unhinged “Insomnie”), it’s basically the contrabass clarinet doing most of the duty, and that’s a good thing, because it’s a fun & naughty instrument and a perfect foil to Ribot’s guitar. Besides, that instrument’s blurty lower register is freaking hilarious! The men trade off rhythm and lead roles as the melodic content splatters, divebombs and just plain misbehaves. The music is loud and unruly and flails its way through rock, surf, and jazz that leans heavily on the funk. Oh man, how I needed this.

The other morning, I was trying to tamp down some rising negative energy, and thought that maybe some breathing exercises might be in order. Just concentrate on the entrance and the exit…the mind will seek calm.

Instead, I popped this disc in and torched those thoughts away. Look and listen, and see if I made the right choice. On the trailer for the accompanying DVD, Dubuis mimics the squealing of the garbage truck, and then the band launches into “Ultime Cosmos.”

Screw mindfulness, let’s dance!

A tip ‘o the pencil to Pico from Something Else! for turning me on to the sonic wonderment.

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About Mark Saleski