These 'Native Sons' Be Nonch Harpin'! Get the Kids out of the Room! [REVIEW]

By Mike Greenblatt on Apr 08, 2016 04:50 PM EDT
Nonch Harpin' Northern Cali band Nonch Harpin' throws the jazz handbook out the window on 'Native Son' debut. (Photo : courtetsy Jazz Promo Services)

Go to the Northern California town of Boonville and the Native Sons there say "nonch harpin'" as slang for "dirty talkin'." So when saxophonist Chinh Tran, bassist Shawn Ellis, drummer Alan Spearot, keyboardist Daniel Raynaud and guitarist Andy Markham jammed at the 150-year old Native Sons Hall in Pescadero to the point where it sounded so good, they formed a band, guess what they named themselves?

It might not have even come up but these boys are profane! They're so profane, during rehearsals, the name seemed natural, as did the name of their self-released debut after the hall that spawned them. Iconoclasts all, and precocious at that, they take over 10 minutes to make King Crimson's "The Sheltering Sky" come alive again like a lurching and staggering zombie. I'd love to play it for Robert Fripp and Bill Bruford. (Love the new trend of young jazz bands who were raised on rock covering the big-time bands. No less than King Crimson, Led Zeppelin, Beatles, Stones, Dylan and other Classic Rockers have all been downsized lately on different indie jazz releases. This is a trend worth following: I'm lovin' it!)

The odd meters, syncopation, art-school ambiance and wild eclecticism infests such adventures as the opening "Mr. Rocket Boots Celery Man," "Melody for a Woodland Cabana, "Li'l Antonin Scalia," "The Fat Samaritan" and the seven other reasons to love this band. Solos pop out of thin air, start before a previous solo ends, and ends after a new solo starts; it's all so random yet it's all so indie, creative and entertaining to the point of being wholeheartedly recommended.

Oftentimes, the crazy arrangements get cluttered, as if they have something to prove as far as their mighty chops are concerned, but that's just the debut jitters. These boys obviously have something to say and it's all in how they say it. Native Sons is so thrilling and surprising, they may never equal it again, yet, somehow, some way, I have a feeling they will.

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TagsNonch Harpin', REVIEW, Chinh Tran, Daniel Raynaud

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