OWL00135 More Mr. Nice Guy
Produced by Garaj Mahal
Released on March 9, 2010
no chart information
Find it at GEMM
OWL00135 cover
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A more conventional-sounding record than their last, featuring sections of smooth jazz (“Tachyonics”), Americana jazz (“Frankly Frankie Ford,” “Alison’s Pony”) and two jazz-soul songs with lyrics sung by new drummer Sean Rickman. The Middle Eastern fusion of W00t appears on the opening “Witch Doctor,” then retreats. Eric Levy’s mix of classic sounds (Hohner clavinet, Fender Rhodes, Hammond organ) and spacey effects (Moog synthesizer) is still a highlight as is the tight playing of the whole band. At first, I was on the fence with Sean Rickman’s songs since they’re not proggish in any sense; in fact, the whole prog label peels off after the first six minutes. However, “Today” especially has a sneaky way of getting under your skin, and the rest of Garaj Mahal invests it with enough intelligent twists to give it more personality than a mere pop song. To their credit, Garaj Mahal do an excellent job of balancing the contributions of four distinct creative voices without making the disc seem fractured. Kai Eckhardt’s complex fusion, Haque’s rock with its nods to Jimmy Page and Pat Metheny, and Eric Levy’s mix of traditional jazz and exploratory space music fold neatly into one another because at no point does More Mr. Nice Guy ever become the vision of a single person. I like my jazz to be notey and noisy, which would describe W00t more than this disc. Should your tastes run toward melodic jazz or soul, More Mr. Nice Guy will be more to your liking. After two very solid and sometimes surprising fusion albums, I can honestly say that I can’t wait to hear more from these guys.

TRACK LISTING

  1. WITCH DOCTOR    (Kai Eckhardt)    5:36
  2. FASTER THAN THE SPEED OF TIME    (Eric Levy)    0:45
  3. TACHYONICS    (Eric Levy)    8:07
  4. THE LONG FORM    (Fareed Haque)    10:41
  5. TODAY    (Sean Rickman)    5:22
  6. FRANKLY FRANKIE FORD    (Fareed Haque)    9:16
  7. WHAT MY FRIENDS SAY    (Sean Rickman)    5:16
  8. CHESTER THE PESTER    (Kai Eckhardt)    10:05
  9. ALISON'S PONY    (Eric Levy)    8:58

CREDITS

KAI ECKHARDT -- 1961 Fender Precision Bass, Coura Buru-Buru Fretless Bass, good vibes and support
FAREED HAQUE -- Moog Guitar, banjo, acoustic guitar
ERIC LEVY -- Fender Rhodes, Hohner Clavinet, piano, Moog Voyager OS, keyboards, Moog synthesizer, programming, Hammond organ
SEAN "THE RICK" RICKMAN -- drums, percussion, lead and background vocals, rhythm guitar, photography
Jonathan Chi -- engineer, mixing
Mike Skully -- additional engineering
J. Allan Hall -- executive producer
P.J. Yinger -- art direction/design
Norman Sands -- photography

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REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US March 9, 2010 Owl Studios CD OWL00135  

 

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