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Album Review

Rudder, 'Matorning'

April 27, 2009
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Jazz
Rudder Matorning
19/8
ESSENTIAL "3H Club"

If you could toss Medeski Martin & Wood, Soulive, Sun Ra, Zony Mash, and the Chemical Brothers in a blender and then drizzle a little instrumental Beastie Boys on top, it would probably sound like Rudder, the quartet of saxophonist Chris Cheek, keyboardist Henry Hey, drummer Keith Carlock, and bassist Tim Lefebvre. Rudder's second album, "Matorning," nearly detonated in my stereo; it's that powerful. Funk riffs, hard rock beats, jazz improvisation - it's all there, in a form so fresh it threatens to create a new genre. The 10 tunes that make up "Matorning" are compositionally based - these are not free-for-all jams - and yet they give off the aesthetic of on-the-spot creation. Carlock is a rock drummer one minute and a freaky drum 'n' basser the next. Lefebvre lays down nasty funk lines throughout the disc. Cheek blasts furiously on "Tokyo Chicken," but he's a tender balladeer on "Lucy." Hey serves up wild, spacey sounds from a bank of keyboards that appears to include a Hammond B3 organ and synthesizers (is that a Farfisa on "One Note Mosh"?). Funk-rock jazz-jam doesn't get better than "Matorning." (Out now) STEVE GREENLEE