Ken Field’s Revolutionary Snake Ensemble – Year of the Snake
Ken Field’s Revolutionary Snake Ensemble
Year of the Snake
(Innova – 2004)
by Matthew Robinson
Man, this “Snake” can move! Slithering from frontman Field’s upbeat original opener “Parade” to a spare Southern-fried cover of “Iko Iko,” this boa-nafied Jazz band proves time and time again that it is not constricted to any one style. Angel Villodlo’s “El Choclo” combines South American flavors with touches of Blues and Klezmer and Sun Ra’s “A Call for All Demons” slides all over the place, from a tango-ed entrance to a Turkish twisting finale. Among the highest high points (and there are many) are the funkified Ensemble theme “Year of the Snake,” the horn-punched take on Wanu Dibango’s “Soul Makossa,” and a bridge-busting blast through James Brown’s “Soul Power” (featuring the groove-y bass work of Aaron Bellamy).
From Field’s smooth alto and Mickey Bones’ snappy snares to the brassy blasts of trumpeter Jon Fraser and sax machines Mark Caughill and Charlie Kohlhase, this album packs in not only a lot of great music but also a bunch of great local players. Even the voice of the Boston subway gets in on the gig in the appropriately frenetic “Central Square.” Any band that has the guts to take the guitar out of a John Scofield piece (“Some Nerve”) has got to know what it is about, and the Legendary Snake Ensemble is definiftely one such band.
© 2004, M. S. Robinson, ARR