RALPH CARNEY’S SERIOUS JASS PROJECT: Seriously: CD

Ralph Carney is a multi-instrumentalist who’s been associated with bands in what seems like damned near every corner of the new wave—B-52s, The Waitresses, They Might Be Giants, Talking Heads, Jonathan Richman, and the list goes on. As the band’s name and the title suggest, this is jazz, specifically along the lines of small-group, ragtime-derived early swing (hence the “jass” spelling, I’m guessing). The lion’s share of stuff here are run-throughs of standards (like “Echoes of Harlem,” “You Took Advantage of Me,” and “I Wish I Were Twins”), and they handily do them justice—solid musicianship, choice soloing, and a sense of respect not so bogged down with reverence that no room is left for some playful bounce. If traditional jazz is yer chosen poison, this’ll go down nicely.

 –jimmy (Smog Veil)