Listen to this while high: Ralph Carney's Serious Jass Project's Seriously.
Behind the buzz: The
subject line of the publicist's email mentioned something about Tom Waits' saxophonist,
but the magic name of Ralph Carney
dispelled any incipient attack of the whatevs. I mean, we're not talking about just
any sideman or appendage here, but a brilliantly soulful soloist and one of the
unsung heroes of the old New Wave. Founder of the cult Akron post-punk karass
Tin Huey, this sardonic saxman also has sat in with The Black Keys, The B-52's,
Jonathan Richman, Black Francis, Medeski, Martin & Wood, and They Might Be
Giants, which bids him fair to be the Junior Walker of his generation. All that
aside, I was smitten by the fellow when seeing him perform alongside uber-crab Dave Thomas of Pere Ubu at a particularly memorable West Oakland warehouse gig earlier this year. Ralph's irrepressible humor and sidewise remarks were just the right leaven for Dave's well-traveled misanthropy; a kind of tangy coating on a sourball.
Another pipeload of Purp Dragon, carefully hoarded from last week's review