Review

SCOTT BEVINS For A Mouse

Album · 2014 · 21st Century Modern
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4/5 ·
js
I would imagine that this imaginative album slipped under the radar for almost all jazz fans when it came out in 2014, which is a shame because this is one of the better fusion related albums of the new century. A broad description of “For a Mouse” could label this as ‘psychedelic fusion’, a moniker that mostly fits, but it can imply both good and bad things. Certainly the heyday of psychedelic sounds in jazz fusion happened back in the early 70s when some very interesting albums such as Herbie’s “Crossings” and Miles’ “Big Fun” explored the use of electronics and studio manipulation in a jazz format. Along with those innovative albums though, there was also some fluff that tried to cover a lack of ideas with cheap candy coated psychedelia, Donald Byrd’s “Electric Byrd” comes to mind, but in all fairness, there were a few good tracks on that one too. Flash forward to the new century and there has been a renewed interest in electronic flavored ‘trippy’ fusion, and that is where Scott Bevins’ “For a Mouse” enters the picture.

Despite the use of mindbending sounds and studio devices, there is no shortage of compositional ideas or hot chops heavy solos on here. Scott and his crew enjoy using the all the electronic effects they want, but they don’t lean too heavily on them, these guys would sound great with or without all the devices. The influences at work on ‘Mouse’ range from ambient repeating figures on piano and guitar, to all out intense free blowing saxophone solos from Evan Shay. The range of expression goes from the noisy avant jazz-rock of “Bad Pho”, to the gentle pastoral sounds of “The Wilhelm Scream”. Speaking of the latter track, dig the sound of the sax and horn playing the melody together, fans of Miles’ “Big Fun” will get chills when they hear that familiar sound. Overall though, this is not a nostalgic album, this is psychedelic fusion for the new century with sounds that reflects today’s nu jazz scene and a bit of the trip-hop sound too, but also don’t expect anything too formulaic, these guys are well versed in how to free form jam with or without a steady groove. A perfect blend of nu jazz, classic fusion and the avant-garde, “For a Mouse” is an album that deserves much wider recognition.
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