Sax, Drums, and Dancing – Jazz-dance at its finest.
If you are anything like my friends, you would call me crazy after I explain my favourite dance music is created with a couple saxophones and a drum-kit. But it’s simply undeniable, Moon Hooch gets the blood boiling and the body moving. Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, this trio consisting of drummer, James Muschler, and dual saxophonists, Mike Wilbur and Wenzl McGowen, creates unique jazz-dance oriented music that you just can’t help but bob, sway, or boogie to. Their album art is exceptionally wonderful to view as well, with soft screams of colour and imagery that one finds themself easily gushing over.
June 10th, 2016 brought us Moon Hooch’s third studio release, ‘Red Sky’ – it’s every bit as jazz-dance-groove as I hoped, and then some. The title track opens the album with a distinctive edge, percussion seemingly tip-toeing hurriedly forward on a bed of growling sax before erupting and bringing forth the hook. And the encouragement to dance not so subtly infecting all within earshot. It sets an excellent precedent for what is to come; hypnotic hooks and thumping beats, strange yet familiar, weird and very moving.
Adding more flavor to the punch bowl, saxophonist Mike Wilbur is heard flexing his dreamy, if not sometimes languorous, vocals on more than a couple tracks. The majority of these vocals accompany slower, more relaxed pieces which break up the barrage of the dance-heavy album. While not always the most impressive or poignant, the vocal addition is welcome and surely adds a dimension to the record that I hope is used more captivating and engaging in future releases. “Shot” is a track where the vocal support is very welcome, even if the duo saxes have to sit out a couple verses.
This release feels slightly more primal and dark, yet ‘Red Sky’ is just as catchy and groovy as the trio’s previous efforts. Moon Hooch consistently and reliably demonstrates a mastery over their respective instruments, featuring a wide variety of rhythmic variation and song structure. Their ability to continuously write catchy pieces that seem so simple in concept, using only two saxophones and a drummer, into unforgettable ear worms is nothing short of amazing.
all rights reserved
written by Vaughn Oliver