For the second episode in the Jazz in the Present Tense series here at Stormy Mondays, we’re pointing our ears across the Atlantic to hear what Europe has to offer. First is beat master/keyboardist Bugge Wesseltoft, who is featured in the Icons Among Us documentary that was the inspiration for this series, with the late night breathy vocal vibe of You Might Say.
Britain’s Polar Bear released a concept album for its self-titled disc so I’ve included the first two tunes here which cover both the fun, fluid horn-centric side of the band and the deconstructionist madness too–the disc is worth hearing in its entirety. Also from the Isles is Led Bib with the excellently and appropriately titled Squirrel Carnage, and then it’s Norway’s young organ trio Solid with Complicated Shoes. They know how to title their tunes over there. Guitarist extraordinaire Wolfgang Muthspiel gets help from my favorite drummer Brian Blade on the beautiful Gnadenwald from a show in June of 2006, and we finish out with acid jazz mainstay The James Taylor Quartet and their killer rendition of The Theme from Starsky and Hutch. Get your dose of Huggy Bear, and as always, enjoy!