Perversely there’s nothing I like more than to be proved wrong. A month or so ago I slated the 2419 label for putting out the anodyne Cortex Accelera album, and eulogized about how they could afford to be so blasé regarding their releases. So it was with little or no excitement that I unwrapped the second offering from the label, Wasabisabi’s “Raw”, but how was I to know that it was jazz. Improvised jazz. Live improvised jazz If that sounds unpleasant or threatening in some way, please leave because to me it sounds like Christmas came early.
Wasabisabi’s take on jazz is fairly modern and loaded with a sense of humour and while they may not be virtuoso players (there are a few bum notes and fluffed lines) this mischievous and experimental approach pays dividends. The album is loaded with charisma and energy and at times it’s not really a jazz album or anything like it. Opener “Robotized” could be arty garage rock if not for the spectral sonar noises and “Baku Jazz Club” is almost a Pavement outtake with its weird keyboard noises and muttered vocals which degenerate into laughter before the whole thing veers off into the sort of territory that only makes sense as you’re doing it.
I’m guessing that this album would alienate many of its potential listeners because of this freeform approach and its willingness to investigate any of the many paths that can be opened by a band in tune with each other (metaphorically speaking) but for pure enthusiasm and personality I highly recommend this free album.