Mitch Marcus Quintet, "Countdown 2 Meltdown," 2010
The West Coast is alive for music. It's not a West Coast jazz in a cool sense for the most part these days. It's something else. San Franciscan (but also New Yorkian) Mitch Marcus and his quintet show us some of that in the riotcap avant romp Countdown 2 Meltdown (Porto Franco 009). It's notable for the presence of the very nimble electric guitarist Mike Abraham, the two-reed threat of Mitch (tenor) and Sylvian Carton (alto), and the very lively rhythm section of George Ban-Weiss on acoustic bass and Tomas Fujiwara on drums.
The music has the Lounge Lizards-Zappa anything-goes quality with the hard-swinging sensibility of Mingus. The band has good soloists all around and they finesse some fine arrangements and play as hard as they need to to get the fire stoked.
If you like the adventurous kind of new jazz that hits it but gives you plenty of super-eclectic composition-arrangements, I have no doubt this will catch your ear as it caught mine. Very much recommended.