Suite Crude Revue: Suite Crude: Space Age Gutbucket Afrodelic Jazzploitation
Cosmo Elliptic

First things first: Suite Crude Revue is a new Daniel Zelonky alias but the ‘group' (an “imagined orchestra,” in his own words) sounds nothing like Low Res, Crank, or anything else Zelonky's released, for that matter. Suite Crude Revue's music sounds both familiar and alien: familiar, because it suggests a fusion of Ornette (circa Free Jazz), Miles (circa On the Corner), Sun Ra, Albert Ayler, and perhaps any other ‘60s jazz iconoclast you care to name; alien, because it also sounds not quite like any one of those artists' ensembles.

With wah-wah guitar, syndrums, and congas spicing up its intersecting synth and horn themes, the album's overture, “Crude Pursuit,” is more ‘70s fusion than ‘60s free jazz. The slinky Latin-jazz dance number “Implacability” spirits us into Ellington's “Caravan” territory whereas “Chalky's Back With Knife” is an almost greasy slow blues workout wherein organ and Rhodes tiptoe around deep horn shadings. Saxes duel within “The Dancer & The Watcher” while things turns modal in the unreleased Sun Ra composition “Intergalactic Research.” Zelonky's song titles are often revealing: “Ethio-Plutonian Strut” merges roller-rink organ with blustery baritone and squealing tenor saxes in a free-flowing, cubistic mass, and “Ball Joint (boogie woogie)” is, yes, the kind of straight-up boogie-woogie that would do Meade Lux Lewis proud.

There is one thing Suite Crude Revue shares with Zelonky's Low Res and Crank productions, however: the material created under each guise is the product of Zelonky's “hyper-real one-man band” approach (though the latest release does include a live version of “Chalky” performed by a thirty-six piece orchestra). Ultimately, it's the album's title—Suite Crude: Space Age Gutbucket Afrodelic Jazzploitation—that perhaps most succinctly captures the bold and ambitious aesthetic in play.

February 2008