|Michael Moore-led sextet Available Jelly has been going strong for two decades now. Their latest offering [in fact, their fifth release] is another joyous and rumpus adventure into the world of what I call 'crazy jazz'. Always one to take things with a grain of salt, saxophonist/clarinettist Michael Moore likes to dabble in groove-oriented, 'fun' jazz. Whether he's paying tributes to Duke Ellington, Burt Bacharach, Abdullah Ibrahim or Nino Rota, everything comes with a nice little Moore signature.
The melodies are as strong as ever. From the gorgeously underplayed version of Hoagy Carmichael's "Baltimore Oriole", through to the fun romp of Burt Bacharach's "Little French Boy" onto the amazingly subtle "Mad" all compositions revolve around the melody.
As the years go by, this sextet has in fact only gotten stronger and better. Wolter Wierbos is still as uncontrollably fiery on the trombone, while Eric Boeren sings loveliness and sweetness on his cornet. All the while, the rhythm section of bassist Ernst Glerum and percussionist Michael Vatcher keep things amazingly tight. Add to this the passion and fury of wind section leaders Michael Moore and Toby Delius [both sharing clarinet and sax duties] and you've got yourself a wicked time out.
Bilbao Song may not be as direct and biting as Available Jelly's finest moment [which for me was Happy Camp] but there's still a lot of great swinging and fun music here to make it worthwhile for repeat listens. It's a fun time for all, y'hear.
Tom Sekowski May 06