More merry praise for TriBeCaStan’s new Christmas EP Coal, Again!
“One of the zaniest Christmas efforts to appear since the bar was set in 1953 by cartoon voice actor Mel Blanc’s 78rpm record.” – DownBeat (p.88)
“Clever exotica — winking all the way.” – The New York Times
“Globe-trotting, free-jazz loving, and mind expanding sound.” – Utne Reader
New York Times critic Jon Pareles gives a thumbs-up to TriBeCaStan’s new Christmas release Coal, Again! Check it out…
“Clever exotica, winking all the way” — Jon Pareles, The New York Times
Order the CD or MP3s from our label shop on Bandcamp or find it on iTunes, Amazon, or Spotify.
New York City’s TriBeCaStan returned to the studio this summer to record COAL, AGAIN! — a six-track Christmas recording like no other ever heard. It is a follow-up to the band’s first holiday effort, The Twisted Christmas, released two years ago. Coal, Again! releases today, October 28th, via Evergreene Music!
The disc’s opening track, O Little Town of Bethlemayhem (a mash-up of perennial favorites O Tannenbaum and O Little Town of Bethlehem), is given a driving ska treatment, with steel drums, happy horns (featuring engineer Jim “Heavy on the Egg Nog” Clouse on tenor sax) and Boris Kinberg’s Calypso-inspired percussion. It’s fun, danceable holiday music, which harkens back to classic 1940s cartoon music and TV theme songs of the 1950s.
Multi-string player John Kruth’s highly original arrangement of Silver Bells follows, loping through saloon doors with a drunken C&W grin — and a tipsy Hawaiian Salvation Army band in tow — when it suddenly morphs into a mournful klezmer-tinged dirge. Attempting to describe this smile-inducing track simply cannot do it justice; it must be heard to be believed.
Little Drummer Boychik kicks off with a bassline by Ray Peterson, with Claire Daly’s signature, big-bottomed baritone sax giving this Christmas classic a retro-60s spy vibe which strongly evokes Henry Mancini’s Peter Gunn. While the melody is articulated on lap-steel guitar by TriBeCaStani reed-man Premik Russell Tubbs — and punctuated by a pack of soul horns — the arrangement is iced by a slew of world instruments, including an exotic Chinese flute known as a hulusi, the Turkish bowed yayli tambur, and a small Hungarian zither called the citera. As the tune builds to a rollicking finish, the TriBeCaStani carolers gleefully chime in with the familiar chorus, “Rum-pum-pum….Me and my drum.”
Good King What’s His Name is built upon the chiming resonance of Burmese gamelan gongs and an African gourd harp known as a kundi, creating the effect of a slightly demented cuckoo clock. Joined by a percussive Jew’s harp, various ethereal flutes — including a fujara overtone flute and a bansuri from India — blend their voices to lend the venerable song an airy, exotic lightness.
Carol of the Bells is actually an adaptation of the traditional Ukrainian folk tune called Schedryk. Considering the recent events in that country, the citizens of TriBeCaStan, in solidarity, felt it appropriate to make a musical statement using this eternally haunting melody. Leading off with a pair of soothing wood flutes (Indian bansuri and double shepherd flutes from Sweden this time), the gentle tune, embroidered by TriBeCaStan’s keyboard wizard Kenny Margolis’ harpsichord, soon explodes into the sonic equivalent of “Guernica” (Picasso’s powerful anti-war painting). Propelled by Rohin Khemani’s muscular drums, echoes of Albert Ayler and In The Wake of Poseidon-era King Crimson can be heard within the swirling shards of sax, bass clarinet and wailing brass. Slowly, this wild interpretation of the 1916 classic artfully de-constructs, as Chris Morrow’s mournful trombone moans and Jeff Greene’s cascading kanun (a Turkish zither) spirals into an abyss of silence.
Wrapping up the recording, TriBeCaStan’s take on Jingle Bells sounds like no other version ever heard anywhere before. This extended track, an intergalactic raga, weaves an electric Indian zither with a ghostly theremin and John Turner’s muted, Miles Davis-like trumpet. A sublime impromptu jam ensues, and the TriBeCaStan ensemble soars into unknown sonic regions until eventually winding down, down, down through finely articulated atmospheric conditions, all the way back once again, to earth…and New York.
Enjoy a night of good food and great music as TriBeCaStan perform at the Towne Crier Cafe in Beacon, NY on Saturday, Sep. 6th.
DINNER RESERVATIONS AVAILABLE 5:30-8PM
CONCERT BEGINS AT 8:30PM
The band will be performing 2 shows at Brooklyn’s ShapeShifter Lab. Tickets are $10 and available online as well as at the door. Come and enjoy a fun & unique night filled with lots of dancing and amazing music!
This year’s SXSW was mired in tragedy and abject corporatism. But Evergreene’s own TriBeCaStan had one of the festival’s finest moments, according to The Wall Street Journal:
“For dedicated fans of rock and pop, SXSW ’14 was rescued by transcendent moments provided by musicians applying their talents … Saturday night, in a program at Russian House that included bands from Argentina, Canada, Israel and the Netherlands, TriBeCaStan, a group of downtown New York musicians, paid tribute to the late jazz trumpeter Don Cherry with a West African-influenced number that featured the hulusi, a Chinese flute. These performances relieved, at least temporarily, the unavoidable conclusion that most musicians might have invested their time more fruitfully in a place where music was the primary focus of attention.”
Hey friends! Evergreene Music is pleased to announce that its flagship artist, TriBeCaStan, will be playing an official showcase at this year’s SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. Thanks to our friends at Rock Paper Scissors PR, our tribe of rabble rousers will kickoff The Untangled Diasporas lineup at Russian House. The whole evening is dedicated to fantastic world music from far and wide, and will definitely be a highlight of South By’s closing evening. Will you be at SXSW? Drop us a line at [cameron at evergreenemusic dot com] and we’ll meet up!
Date: March 15, 2014
Doors open: 7PM
Venue: Russian House, Austin
Address: 307 E. 5th Street, Austin, Texas
Hey friends! TriBeCaStan will be playing at Brooklyn’s ShapeShifter Lab on Feb. 15.
Tickets are $10 at the door on the night of the performance. Come hang out with us for an evening of dancing and amazing music!
TriBeCaStan are heading out to California next week! 🙂
Nov 07 Thu – Sunflower Center, Petaluma
Nov 08 Fri – Red Poppy Art House, San Francisco
Nov 09 Sat – Cafe Stritch, San Jose
Nov 10 Sun – Starry Plough, Berkeley
Nov 11 Mon – Tupelo, North Beach, San Francisco
Nov 12 Tue – Steynberg Gallery, San Luis Obispo
Nov 13 Wed – Reds, Santa Barbara
Nov 14 Thu – The Mint, Los Angeles
Nov 15 Fri – Offramp Gallery, Pasadena