December 26, 2015

John Lurie National Orchestra - Men With Sticks (1993)

John Lurie was one of the most important artists of the 1980s. He led the brilliant rotating Lounge
Lizards lineup and had key roles in two legendary Jim Jarmusch movies, Down By Law and Stranger Than Paradise. It seems everything the dude was involved in during the 80s was dope, but it didn't stop once he formed his strong John Lurie National Orchestra at the end of the decade. The group released this one album during its lifetime and it doesn't disappoint. The group is made up of Lurie on horns and two other percussionists. I'm not sure why, but I was expecting this album to be absolutely off the walls, closer to the style of Art Ensemble of Chicago and their side ventures or wild European free jazz, but it's not. The music is organic for sure, but Lurie isn't blowing your ears off with noise and the percussionists refrain from jarring rhythms. The recording is wonderful, and I'm sure a vinyl copy would sound incredible on a good system. Meditative music that sounds pure and different without falling into the unnecessary bullshit trap a lot of late 20th century free jazz bands were swallowed up by.


Men With Sticks