Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Crooked Jades

We recently received a copy of Shining Darkness by the The Crooked Jades and boy, is it ever good. We had heard of this string band - and I mean string band - but only vaguely. Their instrumentation includes a harmonium, a bao (Vietnamese one-string box zither) a mbira, plus your more typical string instruments the fiddle, banjo, guitar, ukulele and upright bass. The band was founded by Jeff Kazor with the intention to "revive the dark and hypnotic sounds of pre-radio music". Since 1994 the band has release six CDs, with the latest being Shining Darkness.

This is a long CD, 19 original songs - many being just instrumentals and I think those were my favorites. Just let the music speak for itself. I also like that the Banjo is very subtle - giving a hint of percussion and not overwhelming. Just listen to "Sand Lake". Want something more bluesy; try "Let It Show". For some reason, track 7, "Lizzy Flew the Coup" was my favorite. It reminded me of The Speckers. But with so many tracks, there's bound to be a song for everyone. Hats off to the current lineup of Jeff Kazor (vocals/guitar/ukulele), Leah Abramson (vocals/ukulele/harmonium/guitar), Sophie Vitells (fiddle/vocals), Charlie Rose (bass), and Rose Sinclair (banjo/banjo uke/minstrel banjo/slide guitar).

The Crooked Jades have schedule a mini West Coast tour supported the CD. We highly recommend this group.

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