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Shrunken Head Shop: Live in Germany

Shrunken Head Shop is the creation of improvised jazz guitar wizard Willie Oteri along with the unique trumpet sounds of Dave Laczko. Live in Germany is an album full of live performances from a long list of German and Italian musicians during 2012.

Many of these tracks are long, (the opener "Legends of Litfass" is over 24 minutes long my favorite), improvised tracks allowing the artists and musicians to stretch out and truly capture the power of their innovative spirits.

Every track will help you relive many of the exciting eras of jazz past while at the same time enjoy the intricate improvisational talents of the performers. Sit back and enjoy expert jazz musicianship played live before an audience.

Track Listing:

1. Legends of Litfass
2. Whales of the Black Forest
3. Celebration of the Tsantsa
4. Tracks of the Mystery Ape
5. Wrath of Bernd

Added: October 8th 2013
Reviewer: Mark Johnson
Related Link:
Hits: 2172
Language: english

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Shrunken Head Shop: Live in Germany
Posted by Ryan Good, SoT Staff Writer on 2013-10-08 13:45:57
My Score:

For starters, let's introduce the musicians:
Willie Oteri - Guitar
Dave Laczko - Trumpet
Sylvia Oelkrug Violin
Schroeder Drums
Jan Fitschen Bass and Stick
Alex Arcuri Bass
Konrad Wiemann Percussion.

I started listening to this and the only introduction I had was "Think you might dig this one-proggy, fusiony goodness for your queue!" I was ready.

The 24-minute opening track "Legends of Litfass" began and visions of Bitches Brew danced in my head. Reverb-laden trumpet, laid-back trap-set rhythm, gentle guitar noodling; this could have been pulled straight out of Miles Davis' archives. It would be a disservice to this expansive slab of free-jazz to go through every transition and sub-section. Honestly, you either dig it or you don't.

"Wales of the Black Forest" opens with great bass and guitar oddness. Laczko's trumpet is present yet less emphasized. Percussion is an accessory. Looking again at the song title, they frickin' nailed it. In 11 minutes, it is eerie yet intriguing, curious yet purposeful. A violin comes in and things brighten up, become less scary. I hear brushes on the snare drum. Cinematic, mind's eye-soundtrack-ambience.

"Celebration of the Tsantsa" starts with thumping toms and bass. The trumpet, violin and guitar weave a web of treble. Schroder on the drum kit is a feature of this track. Another epic 20 minutes that is a one-way ticket to free-jazz heaven.

Plucked violin and guitar trade blips at the beginning of "Tracks of the Mystery Ape." The track develops into a slow-walk through the funk jungle.

While listening to "Wrath of Bernd," another sonic image blooms in my mind: the psychedelia of the Grateful Dead's space/drums segments and improvisational journeys. Distorted lead guitar weaves over a jazz/funk foundation of drum-set and electric bass (or perhaps this is the stick?). Digital effects color the guitar and I am reminded of David Fiuczynski and John McLaughlin.

I finally read the press release and it all makes such perfect sense now: every track is pure-improvisation recorded at different tour dates featuring different combinations of players. It really feels like one is sitting in the middle of a giant rehearsal room while the musicians play what the moment demands and feed off of one another. As a Grateful Dead, Phish, and Miles Davis fan, I understand that this may just sound like wandering pointlessness but I totally get it.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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