ALBUM REVIEW - John Sinclair - Mohawk
March 24th 2014:
Mohawk is the previous MC5 manager and beatnik-poet's umpteenth album of jazzy gravel-voiced verbiage and mighty fine it is too. Billed as a homage to the life and times, wit and wisdom of perhaps jazz-music's finest players - Dizzy, Bird and in particular Monk, in case you were curious - Mohawk features Sinclair drawling out his passionate observations and energetic lyricisms on top of Stourbridge mixmaster Steve The Fly's deft brushwork, turntable gymnastics and be-bop bounce, all engineered sweetly by Dutch wizard Tim Egmond - a good job all round.
It's one busy, 'dizzy' little ride that's best taken in one hit, rather than hopping and skipping through the tracks. Most of the free-styling odes fall short of three minutes, making the title-track, Straight No Chaser and Leap Frog and the like, easy-to-swallow chunks of hip story-telling that actually date back to the '80s in a few cases. Straight No Chaser has some tight back-winding and scratching going on and is an album highlight.
The album closers take their time in comparison. An Oscar For Treadwell breezes by in six nifty minutes, telling tales of uptown clubs and underground house-bands starring Charlie Parker, Max Roach and the like, all effortlessly regaled by Sinclair in a burr that recalls Jeff Bridges for some reason. In addition, the keen-eyed will have noted the Monk-inspired titles.
Finally, Carolina Moon is dedicated to the then recently-departed Thelonious Monk, fired up by rhythms similar to the man's own scattergun delivery, before silence. And more silence, before a distant phone rings out and we're treated to a recording of Sinclair speaking to Yoko Ono and John Lennon just after the poet's release from custody in 1969. Jailed in Michigan for a narcotics demeanour, Sinclair had allies in Lennon and his wife with the former Beatle paying props to him on the track John Sinclair on his Some Time In New York City album.
Fascinating stuff. Great sleeve-work from CHU too.
Posted by pkrpmusic at Friday, February 07, 2014
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