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.
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.
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.
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 (except 3) (gtr); MC Righteous (2, 4, 6, and 11) (rhymes, freestyling). New York, no date.
Ropeadope, number unknown