Marc Ribot: guitar; Mary Halvorson: guitar; Jamaaladeen Tacuma: bass; G. Calvin Weston: drums; Takako Siba: viola; Yoshie Kajiwara: violin; China Azuma: cello.
It’s curious to see two explorers and recognized avant-gardists such as the guitarists Marc Ribot and Mary Halvorson adapting disco, funk, and soul to the current days in the Young Philadelphians, a band that besides the guitarists and a couple of Phillies, Jamaaladeen Tacuma on electric bass and G. Calvin Weston on drums, also hinges on a Japanese trio of classic strings - violin, cello, and viola.
In my eyes (or ears), “Live in Tokyo”, with its mash-up of influences and inheritances, didn’t extract the better of these two creative guitarists. However, this doesn’t mean they haven’t done a competent job.
The first tune, “Love Epidemic”, is a soul-rooted disco tune from the 70’s, recreated with hints of David Bowie’s spatial rock. Ribot’s delirious guitar riffs are complemented by Halvorson’s fills, which come wrapped in effects.
The soothing wha-wha grooves in Teddy Pendergrass’ “Love Tko” make it the best rendition of the album. A breezy sensuality flows, spiked by Ribot’s bluesy approach and Tacuma’s bass solo.
Far more festive is “Fly, Robin, Fly”, a 70’s disco hit popularized by the German group Silver Convention, whose funky guitar chords bring to mind the Doobie Brothers’ “Long Train Runnin”.
“TSOP” unfolds sentimental melodies within a commercial approach, heavily contrasting with “Love Rollercoaster”, a rock celebration with a chorus sung with the tics of David Byrne. “Do It Anyway You Wanna” throws up an energetic compound of funk, rock, and R&B, moving in the same line of James Brown, while “The Hustle” is more ABBA style but packed with Halvorson’s odd effects.
Nostalgic and gleeful, “Live in Tokyo” is set as a wingding. Although not my cup of tea, this is another peculiar entrance into the guitarist's multi-colored discography.
01 – Love Epidemic ► 02 – Love Tko ► 06 – Do It Anyway You Wanna