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Vorcza - Maximalist

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Artist: Vorcza

Album: Maximalist

Label: Hat & Tie

Review date: Dec. 18, 2003

An hour-long slice from a band which – though they are probably well tired of hearing this – comes straight out of the Church of Medeski, Martin, and Wood. A bubbling, perky, and occasionally moody organ trio, their moves will sound pretty familiar to most listeners, from the bank of keyboards, the rubbery bass, right down to the sound of the snare drum. The basic trio – Ray Paczkowski (who’s logged time in Phish man Trey Anastasio’s group) on keyboards and mbira, Robinson Morse on bass and trombone, and Gabe Jarrett (Keith’s son, who has performed with notables the Jazz Mandolin Project) on drums – is made up of good, but not stellar instrumentalists. They’re also augmented by Tom Morse (trumpet, flugelhorn) and Zach Tonnisen (tenor sax) on a couple tracks (Morse on the mournful, modal “Dreaming on Road,” both on the closing “East is Red”).

The vast majority of these tunes fall into the category of loose and limber jams, with slinky drum-bass counterpoint providing a cushion for a myriad of keyboard sounds. Heavy on the hooks, this band is a bit more rock-oriented than MMW (there are even a few turnarounds reminiscent of 1970s classic rawk). “Don’ ere,” for example, reminded me a lot of the great Jeff Beck tune “Led Boots” while “Adios Pinochet” seems indebted to the sub-genre of the rock anthem (though with a healthy dose of improvisation that would be anathema to purveyors of the power ballad). Their other ventures extend their idiomatic range – such as the semi-icky “island” lilt of “Goya” – and aren’t always as successful, though they do a fine job at the skittering, free-ish “I’ll Call in the Morning.” Their strength is quite simply in the shuffles, boogaloos, and funky jams that dominate the recording. They’re very adept at this stuff, especially at the rhythmic changeups, tempo shifts, and breakdowns that make people wiggle and wag. So do I recant my earlier likening to MMW? Not a bit. Do I think that makes this record less enjoyable? Not a bit. For fans of this genre, these guys are worth seeking out.

By Jason Bivins

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