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 Monday, 01 September 2014
Liquid Soul Delivers a Solid One-Two Punch! PDF Print
Written by Don Berryman   
Thursday, 04 May 2006
CD cover One-Two Punch is Liquid Soul's 5th CD, and their debut release on Telarc. When I put this CD in my player, the infectious groove grabbed me right-away. And I though "this isn't jazz, it's hip-hop but I dig it." After finishing it, and playing it through a few more times I realize that this music is not that easy to pigeon-hole. In One-Two Punch, Liquid Soul effectively combines elements of free-jazz and hard bop improvisation with urban rhythms from hip-hop to rock and funky horn section arrangements. In addition to original songs (mostly by reed-man Mars Williams), One-Two Punch includes very fresh arrangements of tunes by Dizzy Gilespe and Albert Ayler - these are more snipets than covers, paying homage to past masters. I can imagine a hip-hop fan saying "This is jazz, but I dig it." However, guests include DJ Logic, Vernon Reid and JoJo Hermann. One thing is certain, this music is very danceable - in fact it is hard to listen too without danncing. Duke Ellington once said that there are only two kinds of music, good music and the other kind. One-Two Punch falls firmly in the former categary.

One-Two Punch opens with "Baghdad Cafe" which opens with background sounds, faint singing, a drum beat with a riff like the sound of machine guns, followed by an overdriven guitar vamp that continues as horns blow a middle eastern melody, then Mars Williams plays a reedy solo over it all on musette. The cacophony builds and ends with the sound of an explosion. This is followed by the funky "attaboy" is a dance party tune with funk style horn lines and plenty of electronica, guitar and moog solos. The R&B heavy "Body and Mind" has a spacey section in the middle with vibes and horns weaving intricate melodies. "Sex God" features a driving rthythm with Williams blowing a scorching tenor, followed by another spacey trip-hop section with haunting trumpets and electronic sounds echoing over a subdued rhythm until a killer rockish guitar solo speeds thing up back to the original rhythm. One-Two Punch continues with a wide variety of sounds and songs, but never leaves you very long without a solid groove.

Liquid Soul started in 1994, when the band was at the leading edge of a surging acid-jazz movement in the Midwest. Evolving from free-form hip-hop jams, the band coalesced and soon found a home every Sunday night at Chicago's Elbo Room. In 1996 their Sunday night gig moved to the Double Door in Wicker Park and held it for almost four years (Feb. 1996 to Dec. 1999), rarely missing a show even while playing nearly 200 gigs a year throughout the United States and Canada, plus performances in Germany, Turkey and Japan.

Image Saxophonist Mars Williams composed and arranged almost of the tunes on One-Two Punch. Williams studied with Anthony Braxton and Roscoe Mitchell, and has worked as an arranger and orchestrator. An open-minded musician who commutes easily between free jazz and rock, Mars has played and recorded with The Psychedelic Furs, Massacre (the Fred Frith/Bill Laswell group), Ministry, Billy Idol, Power Station, Die Warzau, The Waitresses, Pete Cosey, Billy Squier and virtually every leading figure of New York City's "downtown" scene.

John Zorn calls Mars Williams "... one of the true saxophone players--someone who takes pleasure in the sheer act of blowing the horn. This tremendous enthusiasm is an essential part of his sound, and it comes through each note every time he plays. In many ways he has succeeded in redefining what versatility means to the modern saxophone player."

Liquid Soul includes: Mars Williams on saxes and woodwinds, Phil Ajjarapu on bass, David "Boy Elroy" Arredondo on beat-box and vocals, Andy Baker on trombone, Chris "Hambone" Cameron on keyboards, Van Christie on programming, Doug Corcoran on trumpet, Mr. Greenweedz on vocals, Tommy Klein on guitars, DJ Logic on turntables, Mussettes on keyboards and loops, electronics, Brian "MC B" Quarles on vocals, Hugh Ragin on trumpet, Tony "Kick Drum" Taylor on drums, and Vernon Reid on guitar.

Additional Musicians on this recording include: Jim Dinou on electronic, Leddie Garcia on percussion, John "JoJo" Herman on keyboard, Steve Hunt on vibes, Teisha M Jackson on backing vocals, DJ Eddie Mills on turntables, DJ Scot "Rocket" Paskon on turntables, Cosmos Ray on backing vocals, DJ Redlox on turntables and vox, Brian Sandstrom on bowed double bass, Iqbaal Singh on dhol and tabla, David Suycott on drums, Angus "Bangus" Thomas on bass, and Matt Walker on drums.

    Tracks
  • 1 Baghdad Cafe Williams 4:57
  • 2 Attaboy Williams 6:19
  • 3 Body and Mind Ajjarapu, Klein, Taylor, Wilks 5:35
  • 4 Mind Interlude Williams 1:23
  • 5 Sex God Williams 5:21
  • 6 5 Finger Discount Williams 4:01
  • 7 King of the Ill Williams 1:34
  • 8 Stop Quarels, Sanchez, Showalter 4:02
  • 9 Peanut Head Williams 7:31
  • 10 Bebop Interlude Gillespie, Williams 1:11
  • 11 Nothing But Net Williams 3:28
  • 12 Liquid Angels Ayler, Williams 2:00
  • 13 Boxer's Fracture Williams 4:58
  • 14 Kong Williams 4:38



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