Thursday, December 31, 2009

Best Jazz Album Of 2009: Acoustic Ladyland

Best Album Of 2009
Over the last week we have discussed the albums that have been spinning continuously on our stereo over the past year. I said that these were in no particular order. The only part about this statement that is incorrect is my final entry for the year. Today's entry is truly my Album Of The Year.

Acoustic Ladyland
Living With A Tiger
(Strong and Wrong)

I decided to sit down and listen to Living With A Tiger again for about the 3rd time this week to see if it held up from last week. As you can tell I probably have listened to this record at a miminal of twice a week since it came out. This is Acoustic Ladyland's fourth album and is definitely their most aggressive and adventurous. A jazz, indie rock, art rock hybrid--like John Zorn and Frank Zappa fronting Sonic Youth distorting your speakers and disturbing your neighbors is how Acoustic Ladyland will feel. Once you tear all that aside, Acoustic Ladyland is a quartet that has quickly become revered and acknowledged in the European jazz circles as one of the most exciting bands on record and live--in just a few short years.

As with The Vandermark 5 stateside, Acoustic Ladyland are setting dynamite to what we know as jazz or free jazz. Their incorporation of rock idioms is nothing new but it certainly hasn't been done this well since possibly the Zappa era. From the opener, "Sport Mode" to the closer "You and I" and my personal favourite "Have Another Go", Living With A Tiger demolishes every musical category and leaves you with the most important thing--The Music.

The collision of frenetic saxophone, grinding guitars, pulsating bass lines and ambulance-inducing drummers makes for a considerable dedication of the listener from the outset for this London based band. But they more than meet every challenge with each record. Acoustic Ladyland is a shot in the arm (or face) for jazz and will continue to be an exciting and refreshing reward for anyone who takes the time to open their mind to this journey with a Tiger. Happy New Year.

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