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Illustrated Band

3.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 14, 2003
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Vida Blue ~ Illustrated Band (Dig)

Amazon.com

What a difference a year makes. Page McConnell has revamped the direction of his extra-curricular band, Vida Blue--named after the Cy Young award-winning pitcher--nudging them more in a traditional jazz direction and leaving all the obeisance to rock posturing of the first record far behind. On this second outing the Phish keyboardist doesn't sing a single note, but instead employs what seems to be snippets of training films to provide some kind of quasi-political cohesive narrative arc on the title track "Illustrated Band," adding the shrill squawks of tropical birds, and oddly a sample of LaWanda Page, who you might remember as Aunt Esther from the seventies TV show "Sanford and Son"--again displaying McConnell's fascination with the pop culture of his childhood. A trip to Miami introduced him to the Afro-Cuban rhythms of the Spam Allstars, who provide a saucy Latin exuberance to the disc's four tracks; their feral and dangerous rhythms and witchy incantations grounded by Otiel Burnbridge's solid and steady basswork, and the Meter's Russell Baptiste's graceful and deft drumming. --Jaan Uhelszki

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. THE ILLUSTRATED BAND (THE ESSENCE OF AMERICANISM)
  2. CHARMPIT (TRAD YORUBA CHANTING)
  3. YOU DON'T KNOW (I FELL IN LOVE WITH A PROSTITUTE)
  4. LITTLE MIAMI (MY MAN! WILD MAN!/ PREACH ON SISTER, PREACH ON/ LA ULTIMA FAMILIA)


Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 14, 2003)
  • Original Release Date: 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sanctuary Records
  • ASIN: B0000CG8HH
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #365,320 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By C. E. Morgan on October 17, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Of all the Phish spinoff projects, the one I enjoyed the most was the first Vida Blue disc. Like most really good music, it didn't sit well with me at first because it defied my expectation that it would contain a lot of Page's wonderful Piano noodling. Still, it grew on me rather quickly and I have been really looking forward to this new release.
If you are expecting more of the same from "Illustrated", you're going to be disappointed. Page is frequently mixed into inaudibility and the "beat-centric" performances leave little room for the sort of rambling yet melodic atmosphere that made the debut so strong.
But don't give up too easily. After three or four times through, Page is more easily heard than on the first listening. Oteil get's a lot more use - to good effect - kinda makes one wonder where they were keeping him on the first release. The songs are long, wonderful run-on sentences; and the horns contributed by SPAM are an emphatic punctuation mark.
My only remaining criticism; and one not likely to be dismissed any time soon, is the whole DJ as musician thing. That's not to say it's not a skill unto itself; but there's entirely too much of it for my taste. That one issue aside, this is a very listenable recording.
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Format: Audio CD
I am not a phan of this cd. It seems a little drawn out and the jams really never go any where.
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