Sunday, September 13, 2009

Junk - Kiss My Acid Jazz

Junk were an instrumental four-piece band who made music somewhere in the borderlands of acid jazz and skronk; the rhythms were too smooth for skronk, but David Robbins' baritone sax was too edgy for acid jazz. The band's bio from their seemingly abandoned website (last updated April, 2001) reads:

JUNK has been called a jazz band, a funk band, a jazzy-funk band, a funky-jazz band, an "anything but jazz" band, even (horrors!) an acid jazz band. While critics can't agree on how to define them, the listeners & dancers who have heard and seen JUNK will usually agree on this: they have a talent for moving their audiences (body and soul) and they do it intelligently, confidently, and without getting hung up on the labels others try to hang on them. Call it what you like--it swings, it grooves and occasionally it goes off the deep end. But label it, and the music will punch a hole through the box you tried to put it in.

JUNK's beginning can be traced back to 1988 when Dave Schumacher (guitar) and David Robbins (baritone sax) roomed together at Boston's Berklee College of Music, while Schumacher played with Frank Swart (bass) in a band that was to have a significant influence on JUNK. Six years later they all met again in the Bay Area and hooked up with Malcolm Peoples, the local drummer of choice for numerous funk/hip hop acts. Their first CD, JUNK was born out of jams worked out in a smoke-filled rehearsal space. The buzz got going right away. "A solid album," said Stepjazz magazine, "which really shows the possibilities of this music and this band." Urb agreed. "Quite against the pretty boy space cowboy pseudo-funkateer pretenders, they are willing to funk themselves into a cold sweat without apology or gimmickry."

Following tours of the West Coast, the band entered the studio with Philip Steir of Consolidated to record Kiss My Acid Jazz. A more varied CD than the first, KMAJ 's jazz/funk mix was spiced with some experimental cuts that raised a few eyebrows but also brought them critical praise, and national radio airplay. JUNK was nominated in the Outstanding Jazz Band and Jazz Album categories of the 1997 Bay Area Music Awards (Bammies).

The "band that was to have a significant influence on JUNK" would be Morphine, whose defining "low rock" sound is echoed in Junk's heavy bass-and-baritone-sax orientation. Get the CD rip of Junk's second album, Kiss My Acid Jazz (Faffco Records FAFFCD-02), here or here; check back in a week or so for their third and final album. (Have a rip of the first? Please let me know, I'm looking for one.)


Audiozobe said...

Some of these albums, you kinda know why they're out of print. They sound quaint, somehow dated. You can still relate to the period, maybe, or you can slot them in a context and they're a little shinier. And then you get something like this band, which really is awesome. And the music industry sleeps through it like it's muzak or something.

Then again, jazz never had it easy, I guess.

Thanks for sharing... said...

I have a autographed copy of the first album...

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