steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

SS Puft

"Seems Sometimes People Undergo Full Transformation" CD

Solponticello Records

Genres: free jazz, jazz

195 Three Oaks Drive
Athens GA 30607

Jan 13 - 19 2003

SS Puft's Seems Sometimes People Undergo Full Transformation sees the band (now expanded to a quintet) at their best; each of the album's eight tracks will delight free jazz listeners. Though they have a relatively restrained sound in comparison to certain other free jazz ensembles, the quintet still manage to create a collection of really energetic pieces that are both wild and accessible at the same time.

A great example of their work is Jeff Crouch's "Just After 5," which features a funky bass sound holding it together (courtesy of Erik Hinds' modified electric bass, dubbed the "H'arpeggione") and some enticing trumpet and sax playing, as well as a fantastic drum solo by Blake Helton. Hinds' "Just Suppose, Juxtapose," meanwhile, is a dark, brooding piece of jazz with some fantastic guitar by Colin Bragg and a nice, seeping trumpet sound courtesy of Jeff Crouch. Also notable is another Hinds composition, "World Waltz." Boasting a moody bass-and-drums backing with electric guitar, muted trumpet, and sexy sax solos laid over it, the piece reaches its best part at the end when all of the instruments come together to produce a beautiful, warm finish.

Though their compositions are fantastic, also notable are SS Puft's various improvised pieces. "Languish No Longer," for example, is an eerie, seeping track that goes best in the dark. "Trance...Language," meanwhile, is a funky tune that boasts elements of modern acid jazz.

Altogether, this is a fine album that should appeal to most jazz fans. Its relative accessibility means that it will score points with both free jazz enthusiasts and those looking for something a bit more restrained. Recommended.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 8 songs, distributed by the label, released 2002]