The Dragon's Den
December 20, 2004
"It's intolerable. They can't find the beat."
Those were the words of an audience member originally from Lake Charles in for vacation from New York City. She said she sees a lot of bands like The Insinuations in New York. She said the blonde saxophone player was actually good, but that he wasn't during this performance.
He must normally do linear stuff. Or at least decent non-linear music. The Insinuations played bad non-linear music. I know the common jazz player's response to a judgment of bad free jazz--"oh, well, you just don't understand it." No, I've seen Ornette Coleman play. I know good free jazz when I see it. The Insinuations played unenjoyable unstructured chaos. They approached the music like they might as well have been in a garage. Sure, they were getting a kick out of each person's neat undiscovered progression or solo, but it did nothing to feed the overall band. Man, it was frustrating to watch and hear. These guys must not have played together before. If they had played together before, they probably would have gotten better signals from each other. Instead, they just keep shooting each other "oh, that's cool, what you just did" looks. Yeah, well, those cool things don't mean anything when they have nothing to do with what preceded it or what's being played.
It was a real train wreck. I appreciated their experimentation with strange electronic sounds and a megaphone directed into a bongo drum. It's not enough to make music, though. They each obviously knew how to play music, but they weren't on the same page or in the same universe.
Go practice on your free time--not other people's.