Discovering jazz as an art form and as a source of entertainment is a difficult proposition when trying to understand the varying styles attached to the genre. With over 100 different styles of jazz to choose from, finding the right niche is a nightmare for jazz beginners and connoisseurs alike, especially in the realm of electronic jazz. In that particular instance, the usual lines of communication between the artist and listener are not clearly defined; as such is the case, creativity is often questioned. Case in point: Consider the work of Torso, whose latest release entitled "percolatin’ with lucifer" falls into a category far removed from the traditional understanding of jazz.
When Torso’s Lee Leffler and Louis Selvitella put this CD into motion, the end result became a down-tempo sound activated energy experience. Although jazz was the main thrust behind their original idea, Mr. Lee and Mr. Louis have crossed many lines of conveyance to make this project happen. First and foremost, these two guys have pushed the envelope of jazz above and beyond the expected. Their music is tactfully written with meticulous attention to detail and a high degree of imposing ideas. The music is programmed in a manner that carries listeners into the unknown dynamics of intuitive thought, while exploring the unknown aspects of artificial instrumentation. When interviewed, Lee Leffler lamented: "Preconceived ideas aren’t allowed, we like the idea of creating music spontaneously." With that being said, the musical ideas that have been attached to "percolatin’ with lucifer" are most definitely beyond the mainstream. The CD features seven tracks of mind-boggling computer-driven iconic pieces of post mortem jazz, augmented by moving bass rhythms and guitar harmonics, which are designed to mimic the genre as an art form. The overall effect seems to be one filled with extreme exaltation and enthusiastic layers of imposed fusion.
This CD that has been recorded by two members of the Boston music scene is not jazz in the usual sense; however, there are moments where some semblance of jazz exists. To make this release happen, Lee and Louis used their musical experiences that have been honed in Boston and New York, as well as recording for various independent labels. The overall return is a highly provocative tapestry of influences that have an original intent; however, the use of artificial dynamics clouds the creative base. But might I add, with many of my opinionated pretenses aside, "percolatin’ with Lucifer" is filled with enjoyment. The slow grooves coupled with electronic funk and some well placed soul-oriented influences make this recording worth a listen. With jazz as the so-called backdrop, Lee Leffler and Louis Selvitella have created a musical experience that goes beyond the expected. "percolatin’ with lucifer" is as entertaining as is the title, which commands attention as a stand alone persona. In this particular instance, one must be open-minded and accept this recording on its own merit and not confuse the CD as a purely esoteric jazz experience.