Jazz Punks, ‘Smashups’
You can take Jazz Punks at face value — they are what they say they are. Saxophonist Robby Elfman, pianist Danny Kastner, guitarist Sal Polcino, bassist Mike Polcino, and drummer Hugh Elliott blend jazz standards with rock anthems and perform with a punk attitude. And what fun this is: an album’s worth of jazz-rock mash-ups. The melody of Dizzy Gillespie’s “A Night in Tunisia” is supported by the backbone of Led Zeppelin’s “Misty Mountain Hop.” The saxophone lines of Dave Brubeck’s (or Paul Desmond’s) “Take Five” flow over the chords of the Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go.” Wayne Shorter’s “Footprints” takes on the riff of the Beatles’ “She’s So Heavy.” The most innovative track sets the theme of Duke Ellington’s “Take the ‘A’ Train” against pieces of two Radiohead songs — “Creep” and “Paranoid Android.” Weirdly, nothing feels forced.
They may be having fun, but they take the music seriously.
ESSENTIAL “Creep Train”