Review : NRBQ - We Travel the Spaceways
PopmattersNRBQ started up in 1967, making it a band almost as vintage as, say, the Rolling Stones. But unlike its theoretical contemporaries, NRBQ could never become one of those rock dinosaurs—a band trapped by its past, forced to repeat “Satisfaction” or “Start Me Up” until even old people think it’s a bit much.
Nope. NRBQ is a little band, a band many folks have heard of (or even heard in concert) but with not one hit song and not even really a defining album. Instead, this is a band defined by brilliant, eclectic live shows, but ones built not on self-indulgent jamming but on tasty morsels of great songs and a stylistic range that takes your breath away.
In 2012, NRBQ’s line-up contains only one member of the pre-2004 band—the singer, songwriter and Clavinet master Terry Adams—but its spirit lives on clearly. We Travel the Spaceways is from a 2011 live show in Bearsville, NY, and it catches the group in its madly varied glory. The title track is a famous tune by the jazz fantasist and avant-garde figure Sun Ra. The group also assays “Bye-Ya” by Thelonious Monk over a tub-thumping groove, and it even covers the old Claude Thornhill theme song “Snowfall”. But no jazz record this, as unique and fine as these jazz adaptations may be....full text
VillagerecordsNRBQ follows up Keep This Love Goin’, their critically-acclaimed 2011 CD, with a powerful and propulsive new live recording. The dozen songs, recorded last spring, showcase everything we love about NRBQ – energy, musicianship, playfulness, swing, and their brilliant mix of rock, jazz, pop, and who-knows-what. There are originals spanning NRBQ’s 40-plus-year career, Q-takes on Thelonious Monk and Piano Red and, as always, unexpected arrangements of tunes we think we may have heard before but aren’t sure where.
Present is former NRBQ drummer Tom Ardolino, who passed away early this year. He was on hand for this show, as he often was in recent years, and is showcased on four tracks, side-by-side with Conrad Choucroun, sounding “like a choir of drummers” according to WFMU’s Bob Brainen who was in the audience that night. Also joining the band is saxophonist Klem Klimek.“One of the best, most satisfying shows to match any NRBQ show, hell, to match any show by any band that I have ever seen!”...full text
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