Best of 2018 #28: SLUGish Ensemble – “An Eight Out Of Nine”


Steven Lugerner really needs to be not so under-the-radar anymore.  His audacious double-album debut in 2011 received mention on this site’s inaugural Best Of list, and since then, the multi-reedist has shown no limit to his expressionism, whether it be channeling a classic hard bop sound, creating avant-garde pieces based on religious text, exploring melodic possibilities with a dedication that rivals that of the Brian Blade Fellowship, instilling a pop tune approach to a modern jazz trio, experimenting at the crossroads of habit & improvisation, and, now, his SLUGish Ensemble and their fascinating rearrangements of modern pop tunes.  The details reign supreme on this recording, because even though his ensemble unleashes a big sound that lets the melody ring clear, this sonic gem is best appreciated by the unending sparkle of its facets and how the melody reflects off each curve, bend, and sharp edge.  Jazz has an interesting legacy of taking pop tunes, and by rearranging them for jazz performance, revealing aspects not even hinted at by the original compositions.  Lugerner has made an excellent addition to that music legacy.

Released on Slow & Steady Records.

I wrote about the album for The Bandcamp Daily.  And be sure to check back in there, because my interview of Lugerner should be posting any day now.

Music from San Francisco, CA.

Available at:  Bandcamp | Amazon