Scott Amendola Band

Believe

Bay Area drummer Scott Amendola has provided the beat for an exceedingly diverse lot, including folk and rock singers (Sonya Hunter, Carla Bozulich) and jazz instrumentalists (John Zorn, Charlie Hunter). On Believe, he takes center stage, bringing together these and other seemingly disparate threads, including the talents of equally eclectic guitarists Jeff Parker (Tortoise) and Nels Cline (Wilco) and local violinist Jenny Scheinman. Believe embraces sharp, invigorating contrasts: the cool bebop of "Smarty Pants," wherein Scheinman tips her fedora to the Gallic swing of jazz violin legend Stephane Grappelli; the pensive, smoldering Neil Young homage "Buffalo Bird Woman"; and the cinematic "Resistance," which begins as surreal improv, then morphs into a dramatic, spaghetti western-like theme, with both guitarists coaxing some deliciously disquieting noises from their respective six-strings. One might expect Amendola, as "leader," to grab some of the spotlight, but nope -- there are no drum solos to be found on Believe. Instead, he embodies the ensemble-supportive, crisp restraint of a masterful jazz drummer (think Jack DeJohnette or the late Connie Kay). Who knows, Amendola and his band may yet give "fusion" some hip cachet again.

 
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