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Adam Lane's Full Throttle Orchestra

Wednesday, Mar 15 2000
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Adam Lane's Full Throttle Orchestra
Everything (and nothing) about Adam Lane's debut album Hollywood Wedding evokes the spirit of composer/bassist Charles Mingus. From the super-tight, soulful swing of "Dedicated (a version for Fred Hopkins)" to the Ellingtonian rainbow shower of "Blues for Richard Davis" to the brash irreverence and outsized arrangement of "Fire Up the Pig," this twentysomething L.A. refugee has clearly absorbed Mingus-the-composer's sense of fire and form. But he's no clone.

In fact, Lane's orchestral palette draws as much from post-punk Japanese new-school (e.g., Ruins, Boredoms, Melt Banana) as it does big-band jazz-trad of generations past. The psycho ward/bondage flick outbursts ("I ... can't ... find ... my ... underwear!") and harrowing electronics on "New Mars" and "Pig" delve into willfully strident musical choices, however meticulously sculpted, that would have likely vexed the legendary Mingus to no end. But that's just evolution in the wild and woolly world of forward-jazz adventurism.

As a four-string slinger and improviser, the Hollywood native turned San Francisco wunderkind sounds even less like the volatile master bassist who was reared on the Watts side of Lalaland more than a half century before an infant Adam Lane sucked his first smoggy breath. Yet despite the superficial stylistic disparity, this relative newcomer's confidence and confrontational prowess, abiding sense of lyricism and consummate groove power, are directly heir to the Mingus Dynasty. At a rare presentation of Adam Lane's Full Throttle Orchestra at Yoshi's, will we get an earful of "The Fables of Faubus," rendered funky and hep à la Mingus Amungus? Probably not. But given the election season, one could reasonably request "The Government Has a Responsibility to Provide for Its People," a concisely executed original work (wordy title notwithstanding) that personifies everything and nothing about Adam Lane, Charles Mingus, 21st-century jazz, and the creative impulse.

Adam Lane's Full Throttle Orchestra (with special guests saxophonist Francis Wong and guitarist Myles Boisen) appears on Monday, March 20, at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi's, 510 Embarcadero West, Oakland. Tickets are $8 (general) and $6 (Jazz-in-Flight members); call (510) 238-9200.

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Sam Prestianni

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