The Run-Off Groove edition #126 – Sept 25, 2006
Club d’Elf Now I Understand (Accurate Records)
– John Book
If you want to hear a band who does it right, may I suggest Club D’Elf, whose Now I Understand (Hi-N-Dry/Accurate) is an album where you do not know what’s coming next, even after three or four listens. The group, based out of Massachusetts, has (according to their MySpace bio) 80 or so members. On stage, they may have at least four to six members who are the core of the group, but each show may have its own set of variables. Now I Understand comes across as a puzzle game, where various pieces are thrown into the box to see what comes up next. Now, I should say that this isn’t “just jazz” although its members hold true to their jazz roots. There’s some hip-hop styled repetition, some gritty funk, and acoustic electronica, only for them to throw in something from the jungles of Brazil. And that’s just in 30 seconds, as you will hear in “Hungry Ghosts”. If it sounds like Combustication-era Medeski Martin & Wood, you would be close, and the album features Medeski, Martin, and DJ Logic (who had been MMW’s DJ during the late 90’s) as guests. There are some incredible down-tempo funk jams (“Quilty”), or some tranquil jazz (“A Toy For A Boy”), maybe they’ll throw in some African percussion and take you to the motherland (“What Would Cthulhu Do?”), these guys refuse to stay in one place at any given time and it’s a joy to hang on and see where they take you next. Even with all of the divesity with the music and the musicians, it’s not scatterbrained or disorganized at all. They are very confident in what they’re doing, and that shows throughout this album. It’s about unity, it’s about community spirit, it’s about one world, one music. Club D’Elf must have discovered some good hash somewhere, because once they hit that high, they thrive on the buzz and allow themselves to weave through it. All on one puff.