Collocutor`s music tells tales. The band`s debut, Instead, had the vibe of Tom Waits running with Rain Dogs and Beats through Sondheim and Bernstein`s gangland Westside. Of Nelson Algren and Hubert Selby Jr.`s NYC. Junk and Tra La La. Late night rapping with Kerouac and Cassady, high on Benzedrine and Tea. Poetry and all that Jazz. The artwork to their sophomore release, The Search, also inspires imagined narratives. With graphics that hark back to the heyday of Straight No Chaser. When Jazz meant everything new. Where a bright collage of patterns and geometrics describe mountains and rivers. Reflect a super red sun in orange and purple. Demark a citadel. Towers and minarets. Watched over by all-seeing eyes. Our hosts, the players, wrapped in magical, psychedelic cloaks. Given this colourful landscape, this time out perhaps the story Collocutor aim to spin is more One Thousand and One Nights than The Man With The Golden Arm.
A single note, a solitary string, repeats. Assembled breath blows a moment of calm. Before bass, brass and percussion suggest chase and pursuit. A thief maybe. A child, a vagabond prince, hiding in the shadowed doorways of a crowded market bazaar. Upright runs increasing the drama as palace guards rush by. Horns then creaking with the fall of evening fog. To and fro in dialogue. Guessing at our fugitive`s whereabouts. Honking like angry geese. A gong sounds and the rhythm moves to the song of two swords in duel. Guitar notes bent, Beefheart and screaming, as a militia throw homes and stalls inside out. Cupboards emptied, tables overturned. Threats just short of torture revealing still no sign. While the runner waits in secret. Is his stolen prize a jewel? Wealth? A symbol of power? Talking drums express his doubt. His worry at its trouble and cost. Waking from nightmare and fever dream and pulling on clothes. Making an unannounced dawn escape. Here to there to everywhere.
Trumpets greet the morning. Heard, like a rooster`s crow, from outside the city`s walls. Masked in bedouin disguise, navigating a sea of dunes. The sun for a compass. Flugelhorn, baritone, tenor and soprano sax sketching a map between Morocco and Spain. Kicking up sand. The wind erasing his footsteps. Dub and echo doubling for heat haze mirage. Visions of oases in dehydration and delirium. Dust devils, lightning storms, and far off thunder. Shakers and the desolate, distressed screech and Funk of Miles gone electric, on the corner. Playing Hendrix` game in a race against night`s cold descent. Finally reaching new walls. New gates.
Alto flute brings a fresh sunrise, journey`s end, and temple tranquility. Sees those gates open to silent wonder from a crowd gathered in welcome. Treasure returned and sanctuary for a hero. Ragged and animal hungry. Altered by adventure.
You can order one here if you`re quick.
On The Corner Records are at London`s Cafe 1001 on Thursday April 13th.
Collocutor play Camden`s Jazz Cafe on Saturday April 15th.