Best of 2016 #27: Arthur Vint & Associates – “Through the Badlands” (Ropeadope)


Through the Badlands is an authoritative statement on the range that the unified influences of jazz, country and rock can aspire to.  This isn’t the first example of a musician getting the sway of country and the edge of rock and swing of jazz to snap cleanly into place.  What’s particularly notable about the debut of drummer Arthur Vint is that he creates a seamless blend of the three influences, thus making one attribute almost indistinguishable from the next.  Yes, there are passages where one music influence pokes its head out and makes its presence known.  The strong impression given by the melody of “Devil’s Dictionary” is one of verse-chorus, nice and easy and all in good time.  “Maski” is a slow waltz in the countryside, moonlight above and a summer breeze below.  And then there’s the bit of irony that a rendition of Neil Young’s “There’s a World” bubbles up with a hard bop warmth and urgency.  But those are rare instances.  Besides, the real intelligence of the album is found in tracks like “Through the Badlands,” where some twang and some swing and a loud growl are all part of the same breath, the same expression, a singular vision.  This is also where to find the album’s genuine charm.

Jazz from Tucson, Arizona and NYC.

Read more about the album on Bird is the Worm (LINK).