05 December 2006

CD Baby "Out on a Limb" Project Review: Second Installment

A few months ago, I purchased 10 CDs from CD Baby, all by artists I had never heard of previously. I used only the 2 minute sound samples on their pages to judge their work. Needless to say there have been hits and misses, but overall, it has been a successful idea and I'm sure that when I have some disposable income again, I will give it another shot. I highly recommend that you try it sometime; everyone is quick to talk about how many diverse musicians there are working today and how the internet has put them only a click away, yet if we don't actually check them out, none of that matters...so take advantage of it! Anyway, I mentioned one of the "hits" here a while back, so in the interest of equal time, I thought I should also give some props to another gem of the bunch, "Also Not Pictured" by the group Equilateral. I remember that about a year ago there was another band playing a club date in Minneapolis that was billed as "Iowa's hippest contribution to modern jazz" or something to that effect. Whatever the prowess of that band might have been, their marketing department had better come up with a new soundbite, because I would be shocked if anything hipper than Equilateral has ever come out of Iowa, musically or otherwise (and no, covered bridges are NOT hip). The players are individually virtuosic and are equally comfortable playing tunes, playing free, or playing anywhere in between. The tune "Mastroiology" in particular is a real tour de force for saxophonist Chris Merz, both as a player and composer. It knocked me off my chair...which was exactly what I was looking for. There is so much going on (even in Iowa!) that we all owe it to ourselves to seek it out. Unfortunately, it seems that one problem with the internet age is that the good stuff is not the stuff that falls in your lap. At least it is out there somewhere, even if you have to go out on a limb to get it.

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