The Daniel Bennett Group Solves 'The Mystery at Clown Castle' [REVIEW]
There's no telling what you're going to hear on a Daniel Bennett Group CD. For his sixth such excursion into the realms of fantasy, spoken-word charisma, swing, post-bop, jazz-rock fusion and progressive instrumental pop, Bennett, a saxophonist by trade, leads his mighty quartet into more unknown directions. The 11 Bennett originals are trippy reminders why there's no ceiling today on the creativity of young adventurous jazzers -- especially in New York City, the jazz capital of the world. Welcome to The Mystery at Clown Castle (Manhattan Daylight Media).
Bennett plays alto sax, flute, piccolo, clarinet, oboe and piano. Nat Janoff provides the prog-rock veneer with the electricity of his lead guitar. Eddy Khaimovich has to double on acoustic and electric bass, depending upon the track. Drummer Matthew Feick has to lead them in and out of this dense jungle. Specials guests include pianist Jason Yeager and poet Britt Melewski.
You just might sit there rapt in attention, not used to the ping-pong aesthetics of "Paul Platypus" or "Nine Piglets" (which is followed right up by the insatiable drive of "Strange Jim and the Zebra"). Yeager goes wild on "Uncle Muskrat" yet there are moments of "Flow" that tend to trundle the program onward in an effort to make the meat of the matter congeal into a cohesive whole.
Endlessly fascinating (especially if you play the CD over and over again and never stop), Bennett is a true renaissance man of almost awkward proportions, but in his unease, I daresay a near-brilliance emerges. Produced by MP Kuo with a definite eyeball for detail, The Mystery at Clown Castle is one of those CDs where you will hear different sub-plots emerging anew with each listen.