A ride to deeper dimensions

3 The Hard Way is available at www.cimprecords.com.

One of the joys of writing about music is reading some of the press releases that come across the transom. Take the following item, from a flyer touting a local artist I know, which contained a sentence I’m still trying to wrap my noggin around:

“Truly [the local artist’s] best work to date, Adult-Contemporary, Pop, and New Thought Rock critics have described [the local artist’s new album] as: ‘Electrifyingly divine and transformational as it takes you on a ride to deeper dimensions and heights of your heart, spirit and soul source … rocking your world, making you move, dance, think, feel, embrace, live, love and feel deeply on purpose …’ ”

Whoa. The spent-loins denouement of this epiphany might call for a sweetly satisfying cigarette, no? Either that or detox. Which, of course, is a huge drag, because I quit smoking a while back, and because these days I try to avoid ingesting anything that makes me attempt to lick the bark off trees while conversing with them in pidgin Urdu—unless, of course, I’m at Burning Man, and there are no trees anywhere near there.

As a New Thought Rock critic, however, or as a critic of New Thought Rock and New Thought music in general, the above sentence is making about as much sense as that new story line in Jack Elrod’s Mark Trail strip, the post-Shake ’n’ Jake narrative in which a pesky beaver gets caught in a farmer’s otter trap, soon to be rescued by Mark, Rusty and Molly the Bear. And I am confused. If a New Thought Rock critic said anything nearly as earth-shatteringly psychedelic as the above about my new album, I’d make sure I put a name after the quote. Did a real human really did say that? And who, pray tell?

Okey-doke, so as a New Thought Jazz critic, let me state that 3 the Hard Way, the swell new album by the Mat Marucci-Doug Webb Trio featuring Ken Filiano (CIMP Records), is definitely taking me on a ride to deeper dimensions of my heart, spirit and soul source. Dunno if it’s rocking my world, because it’s a jazz album, but it’s most assuredly rearranging some molecules in the ol’ cranium with its remarkably fluid and spatial ensemble playing.

Jazz is feeling music. The real deal—and not that instrumental rhythm-and-blues radio construct preceded by the word “smooth”—is about establishing a connection between the various players’ feeling consciousnesses, so that the sum created is much greater than any one part. Great jazz is about a tether of trust between players.

Ergo this set, the first of two CDs by locally based drummer Marucci, saxophonist Webb (on soprano, tenor and “stritch”—a modified alto sax popularized by Rahsaan Roland Kirk), and bassist Filiano, features nine compositions by Marucci, who sometimes plays with saxophonist John Tchicai, and one by the group. Marucci’s facile beats dance around the center of the recording’s aural space, with Webb’s melodic sax improvisations, which evoke such late-period John Coltrane albums as Crescent, flowing between them. Filiano’s bass, a bit buried in the mix to these ears, provides a nice counterpoint.

Too bad Impulse! Records is only doing reissues these days, because this set would be a natural.