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Mike Dillon's Go-Go Jungle

Battery Milk | Hyena
By JON GARELICK  |  February 20, 2007
3.0 3.0 Stars
The opening “Go-Go’s Theme,” with its heavy backbeat and bar-band tenor-sax theme, screams: “We’re jazz, but not boring!” But the band soon leave such obviousness behind — they get into trip-hoppy beats, trance grooves, backbeats that funk as much as they rock, and absurdist lyrics (usually sung with a subsonic growl by bassist J.J. Richards). Dillon, whose credits include Les Claypool and Garage a Trois, plays vibes with a metallic, distorted shimmer that has little to do with Milt Jackson or Bobby Hutcherson. “Lunatic Express” and “Lopsided Melon Ball” kick up an indie-rock racket, with actual jazz solos by Dillon and saxophonist Mark Southerland. And the slow groove of “The Blame Game” is irresistible, with Southerland swinging over slinky bass, tick-tock drum rims, and tablas — especially after two minutes or so, when the co-dependent lyrics kick in: “You’re right/Blame me.” There’s also political satire in “Bad Man,” with its George W. Bush clips, and, uh, “Stupid Americans.” But it’s not all tongue-in-cheek — a cover of Allen Toussaint’s “Hercules” (originally for Aaron Neville) is sung in a sweet, artless croon, an honest alt-jazz take on great black music, and maybe the most strident political statement on the CD.
  Topics: CD Reviews , Aaron Neville , Milt Jackson , George W. Bush ,  More more >
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