Sunday, September 23, 2007

Basquiat Strings

Under the leadership of cellist Ben Davis, this London-based jazz quintet made the 2007 shortlist for the Mercury Prize, which is considered Europe's number one arts prize. Simply to make that list tends to fling nominees into a dramatic increase in sales and media attention in Europe and the UK. Davis was a bit shocked by the nomination, telling the Guardian, I'm still trying to make sense out of it. Each week I've had to order another thousand copies of the CD to be printed up. It's a bit mad.

Imagine neo-beatniks hanging out at a smoky basement club, snapping their fingers to rhythmically cool jazz grooves. Basquiat Strings self-titled debut album, composed by Davis, contains soundtracks of the Beat Generation—which followed the advent of Sputnik(with its own steady beep).

At Basquiant Strings' site, the musically astute can click the listen link for textual notes on the musical framework for three of their pieces. For example, Double-Dares is underlayed with a 7/4 Macedonian tapan rhythm I doubt even the grooviest jazz fans picked up on that.

Jazz may not be your first love, but every once in a while the Irish whiskey drinker might be seen taking a swig from a French cognac bottle.

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