The self-produced Scott Amendola Band LP ought to confirm that Amendola is indeed the most inventive and innovative percussionist in the Bay Area; the album also expands rather than narrows the myriad forms he's embraced so far. Amendola turns rock and pop classics such as Jimi Hendrix's "Manic Depression" and Nick Drake's "One of These Things First" into goofy Muzak that flows fluidly into jazz, while his own compositions glide effortlessly between jazz, rock, and funk. His beautiful "Hymn" calls to mind the extended jams of Albert Ayler and John Coltrane, with sax player Eric Crystal wailing admirably while Amendola scats and crashes away underneath.
Amendola and band began a monthlong run at Cafe Du Nord last week, with special guests stopping in each session to pay their respects to the man who's backed them up so many times before. This week, Tin Hat Trio violin/viola virtuoso Carla Kihlstedt sits in.