Violinist and songwriter Jenny Scheinman is a multi-talented musician playing everything from rock to folk and jazz with the likes of Bill Frisell, Norah Jones and a series of well received solo albums. This album is from her Mischief and Mayhem quartet with Jim Black on drums, Todd Sickafoose on bass and Nels Cline on guitar. The bands name is apt, because there is a sense of impish fun that the band has playing a wide variety of material like the crunchy rock-influenced performances “A Ride With Polly Jean” and “The Mite” which bookend the album. “Ride” features swaying violin over a loping groove. Spritzes of electronics are added making for a cool vibe. “The Mite” takes things even further out with chunky guitar and drums pounding out a ferocious beat while Scheinman’s violin swoops and sways and Nels Cline (who is well mannered on most of thins album) gets a well deserved spot for a guitar freakout. Jim Black’s nimble percussion is the centerpiece of “Sand Dipper” and “July Tenth in Three Four” developing a clattering and clanking percussion that is an excellent foil for the rest of the band. Add to this long tones of lonesome violin and and excellent bass solo and you get music that is quite evocative. The Village Vanguard tribute “Blues for the Double Vee” has some cool plucked violin and drum rhythm before moving into a sawing violin solo over a persistent beat and a slinky guitar solo. This is an interesting and diverse album of music that should appeal to many open eared music fans. The music is multi-layered, intense and emotional without being too draining. While Scheinmann is associated with the downtown free jazz crowd to some extent, she should not be pidgeon-holed because this disc shows considerable depth and breadth in both her composing and instrumental ability. She strikes out on an original path and it pays off in a very nice album. Mischief and Mayhem – amazon.com
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