microscopic septet Been Up So Long It Looks Like Down to Me (CD, £13.50)label: Cuneiform
The Micros play the blues. Originally active from 1980-1992, and reactivated in 2006 with the original personnel, The Microscopic Septet are regarded as one of the most important and unique bands to come out of the New York scene of the 1980s. They entertained audiences with their combination of swing, energy and humour, which Downbeat described as 'seminal, brilliant post-modern jazz.' The Micros start with a basic reeds-and-rhythm texture sonically similar to the sound of the Swing Era, but they use influences from the entire continuum of jazz. The result is a brilliant blend of fresh-sounding orchestration, compositions and inspired soloing. Their sound is the sound of jazz in America; ALL of it, from Ayler to Zorn, bebop to Basie. The Microscopic Septet distills the essence of jazz into a sound that swings, a music that is intelligent, sometimes humorous, and always good fun. No wonder, then, that when National Public Radio (NPR) needed a new theme song for one of its most popular shows, Fresh Air with Terry Gross, broadcast to every home in America, it asked this band to compose the tune and has used it ever since, meaning that millions of people have heard them daily for years! Voted the #5 jazz group in the 59th annual DownBeat critic's poll, 'The Micros Play The Blues' is their 4th release since reforming and their 8th release overall. The album features eye-catching artwork by the noted cartoonist KAZ.
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