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on July 5, 2009
Drummer Joey Baron assembled quite a band for this recording: Bill Frisell on guitar, veteran Ron Carter on bass, and one of my very favorites, Arthur Blythe on alto sax. The music is mostly slow and kind of funky, but with a bit of a sheen of intellectualism to it. This is not a true "down-home" recording session, it is more a group of crack, sophisticated musicians having fun by getting together in the studio and playing in a down-home style. Baron seems to be having much more fun here than he did when playing with Marc Johnson's "Summer Running" (see my review elsewhere) aggregation--perhaps writing all the music really inspired him to put his all into the session.

In any event, this is great stuff. Blythe is, as always, a monster on the sax; Frisell has fun playing this kind of stuff, or playing at this kind of stuff; and Carter is a solid rock on bass, content to stay in the background, but playing with a big, fat, sweet tone and touch on his upright. This is one of those CDs that you find yourself just wanting to play over and over again--it gets in a groove and milks it for all it's worth.
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on January 3, 2013
I was hoping for a bit more jazz sound, with the personnel included. Surprisingly, it's much more of a groove record. At times, some of the tunes reminded me of some instrumental parts from later Steely Dan albums.
It's done well, but it wasn't what I was looking for. If you are a Bill Frisell fan and are considering this, there are only a couple of tracks that are really worth pursuing.
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on February 9, 2001
Joey Baron, one of the most in-demand drummers around, assembles an band of major weight: Arthur Blythe on alto sax, bassist Ron Carter, and guitarist extraordinaire Bill Frisell. The songs, all written by Baron, are mostly either laidback struttin'-it grooves or haunting ballads - quite a contrast. On the struttin' numbers Frisell riffs along, working that one chord for all it's worth until it's time to let loose with a twangy guitar solo. Carter locks in with Baron's drums on the funky numbers and gets suitably mellow on the ballads; on the swinging "Crock Pot" he does some serious walking. Blythe, who is always good, sounds plaintive on the ballads; when it's time to play over the funk he riffs without falling into cliches. Half rent party, half winding-down, "Down Home" is a new type of R&B recording. The same band also contributes to Baron's "We'll Soon Find Out".
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on June 16, 2010
2 1/2

A few enveloping grooves but as a whole surprisingly light and and unfulfilled.
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on April 26, 1999
Joey Baron has made a fantastic CD featuring Bill Frisell, Ron Carter, and Arthur Blythe. Bill Frisell fans especially will love his work on this disc, as it contains several of those uniquely strange yet beautiful Frisell melodies and heads and some of his smoothest playing. There is a definate funky overtone to this Jazz CD. If you love bands like Medeski, Martin & Wood or any of Frisell's recent albums, you should definately check this out.
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Joey Baron has written and produced a purely refreshing piece of work. While it's elegant in its simplicity, I defy most listeners to count tempo in "What". I still can't find the first beat of the bar. All four musicians are legendary in their own right but there is no showing off here. Truely a CD where less is more . . . so much more.
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on August 25, 1999
How to have the most fun in the world. The instruction are inside. I certainly agree with all the others posting before me. This CD is a must. "What" takes the cake though. It's the most exciting one chord vamp tune I've ever heard ... funk and syncopation never sounded better!
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