Transmogrified

Uncle Art

Beezwax Enterprises, 1997

REVIEW BY: Tammy Childs

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 04/29/2005

Independent record label Beezwax Enterprises has developed a creative and unique way of packing their music. Each CD is specifically designated for the buyer, with his/her name stamped on the sleeve, and each has a serial number with a purchase date. This makes the purchasing of the CD a more personal experience, in an attempt to actively involve the buyer in the process. Each CD is a one-of-a-kind experience; "one of a kind, one at a time."

Transmogrified is indie-band Uncle Art's first release through Beezwax Enterprises. Uncle Art was founded by David Seyboldt and Transmogrified is the band's debut. Although listed in the genre of techno-jazz, I found it to be a mix of jazz, blues and a bit of light rock. Band members include Seyboldt on keyboards and percussion, Bill Boris on guitar, Peter Ballin on woodwinds and Rafe Bradford on bass.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

"Carmine" is a jazzy blues song. It is lively and lighthearted, and has a foot-tapping quality that makes it one of my favorite picks. Boris' guitar work here is notable.

Adding vocals, "Polar Patrol" is an odd and individualistic piece featuring Seyboldt on percussion. The story of the Polar Patrol is interesting. "Among the expeditions that have been sponsored by the United States Government, the Greely expedition ranks with the Lewis and Clark Expedition in importance. Both opened new frontiers and added to man's knowledge of the unknown. Adolphus Washington Greely was well versed in Artic exploration literature and frequently wrote on the subject... Sensational publicity and distortion of the facts portrayed survivors of the Greely Expedition as cannibals. Greely knew what people thought, but beyond his testimony at Congressional and departmental hearings, where he presented sworn affidavits from the survivors that they had not practiced cannibalism, he made no effort to defend his leadership. 19 April 1966." From that information arose "Polar Patrol." The quirky, distinctively independent tone sets the pace for the rest of the CD. And while I can appreciate and admire the creativity, I am unsure that I really liked this particular song. The militaristic musical style does not appeal to me.

"Eastbound Local" is a piece that I enjoyed. It incorporates sounds of the Norfolk Southern freight train as it moves through Alexander, Illinois. The song has a wonderful beat to it, and the train adds to the off-beat nature of the tune. "Jupiter Jubilee" has a space-odyssey-generated atmosphere that is added to this group's normal techno-jazz sound. It is an interesting combination. Again, the music exemplifies this band's ability to twist things up here and there, keeping the music expressive and juicy.

Uncle Art is a rarity in the jazz community. They have a spark of life that is solely their own. My feeling is that as you read this review you won't really be able to get the full essence of Uncle Art's musical endeavors; it is difficult to define, and something you will have to experience yourself. If you crave music that is creative and a bit eccentric, then you should give this CD a chance. I don't think you'd be disappointed.

Rating: B

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© 2005 Tammy Childs and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Beezwax Enterprises, and is used for informational purposes only.