The Dragon's Den
Prints and The Blue Flower Liquidation
June 27, 2004
BY JASON SONGE
Just look at the silly band name coined by drummer Dave Sobel at the last minute. It represented the personality of the players and their performance Sunday night at The Dragon's Den. Clarinetist Rob Wagner, bassist Nobu Ozaki and Sobel played some new Wagner compositions. Except they hadn't rehearsed before they hit the stage, and it showed. False starts and conference during songs was normal throughout the set.
Luckily, there weren't many people at The Dragon's Den, and there was a laid back atmosphere. The band's unprofessional attitude was funny, but I was probably laughing and not scowling only because I knew they were talented and would produce something worthwhile anyway.
They did. The band's modern jazz was full of tempo and exciting meter changes. Once they get their crap together, this band will be really good. All of the songs were mid to high tempo, except for a nice grooving number. Wagner's klezmer tones and Sobel's marching rolls added an Eastern feel to some of the songs.
Wagner was the backbone and powerhouse. His lung strength and fluid, fast playing made his solos beautiful. As Ozaki and Wagner conferred on key changes, Sobel kept the beat solid and interesting throughout the set. He did a great of job of filling in bass line space with extra hi-hat notes. Out of the three, Ozaki was most amused with the sloppy performance, smiling throughout the set. Ozaki rolled out chugging bass lines with little effort, it seemed.
Here's to rehearsal.