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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Loose Tubes Dancing On Frith Street

Loose Tubes
Säd Afrika
Dancing On Frith Street
Lost Marble

Formed in 1984 and folded in 1990, given the ferocious energies involved, let alone the troublesome logistics of getting so many musicians in one place, not too mention having to split the fee so many ways, it’s a surprise that Loose Tubes lasted as long as they did.

These two live albums, from the end of their run, are a typically exuberant concoction of bold brass textures amidst a kaleidoscopic array of rhythms across which melodies are precariously strung. Gutsy solos bluster and blow up like summer storms, often over in a flash, but bracing nevertheless.

With such a collective it’s unfair to single out any individual but on Dancing On Frith Street but John Paracelli’s guitar frequently dazzles, and Dave Powell’s tuba has an irrepressible bravado.   

Säd Afrika, as the title implies, honours the debt of gratitude owed to exiled musicians such as Blue Notes and Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath but couched in a mood of exalted celebration rather than mournful circumspection. 

There are times when Loose Tubes’ studied brand of Looney Tunes orchestration cross cut with a kind of coked-up Mariachi overwhelms a perfectly good idea. However the precious invention overall remains startlingly fresh.

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