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The Shotgun Wedding Quintet 

The Shotgun Wedding Quintet (Jazz Mafia)

Wednesday, Nov 21 2007

The Shotgun Wedding Quintet is an engaging jazz and hip-hop group in the same Bay Area tradition that birthed the likes of Alphabet Soup and the Broun Fellinis. On the band's debut disc, MC Dublin spits tales from the mind of a "Croatian-Irish drunk country-ass white dude," DJ Aspect McCarthy tears it up on the turntables, and the rhythm section is locked in the groove. Local jazz greats like guitarist Will Bernard, bassist Marcus Shelby, and saxophonist Kenny Brooks make guest appearances on The Shotgun Wedding Quintet, but these features alone aren't what make the CD noteworthy. What separates this quintet from the rest is the hugeness of its sound, which is layered with horns, strings, and woodwinds for a Nelson Riddle/Lalo Schifrin orchestral vibe. Tracks like "500 Proof," the Grover Washington Jr.–channeling "We Take It Back," and the hilariously thought-provoking anti-bling anthem "The Day I Blew Up" all have what it takes to move the crowd. Things get really interesting, though, on the psych-out TV-theme-styled "Time Will Judge," which ends in a charged rant more akin to Zach de la Rocha than Herbie Mann. The song reminds the listener that, yes, jazz can be dangerous too. Another surprise is the smooth, bluesy mood of "Don't Wake Me Up," which almost recalls an Elmer Bernstein theme before plunging headfirst into the funky "Half Full or Half Empty" with its Meters guitars and handclaps. The Shotgun Wedding Quintet offers impressive sounds from a multifaceted group on its way up, up, and away.

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