Starting as a jazz-meets-hip-hop jam band with a loosely-defined membership, Bright Dog Red has become a fixture on the NYC jazz and improvisation scene and I can imagine them as a no-hold-barred, inspirational live experience.
On disc however, while it ticks all the right boxes (and the recording quality and clarity is excellent) there’s a pinch of spice missing, a spark of spirit lacking.
The result is that while any individual track might well prompt a “Wow!” reaction, an album’s-worth rapidly descends into an homogeneity from which some excellent performances struggle to shine forth.
In summary, an enjoyable jazz and “hip-pop” hybrid that breaks no new ground but does offer a seamless and well-crafted product with all the right crowd-pleasing touches: solid rhythms and percussion, downbeat vocals bemoaning “the man”, Milesian muted trumpet flourishes, fluid electric guitar solos, occasional electronic weirdness … and yet, the sum of its fine ingredients but no more.
Breaking Down Barriers; Feen for Greener Grass; It’s a Thing or it Ain’t; Cruisin’; Out There, There’s a Field; I Would Remain Reticent; Perfect Circle; Feel the Vibes; Wake Up; But When?; Means to the Ends (52.34)
Joe Pignato (d); Cully (except 3, 6 and 10) (rhymes, freestyling); Cody Davies (sounds, elec); Anthony Berman (b); Mike LaBombard (saxophone); Jarritt Sheel (1, 2, 3, 4 and 6) (t); Zak Westbrook (except 7) (gtr); Mike “MK” Kemmlein (expcept 3) (gtr); MC Righteous (2, 4, 6, and 11) (rhymes, freestyling). New York, no date.
Ropeadope, number unknown