'Like A Wind,' based on a Sherwood Anderson text, gives Shrimpton an opportunity to stretch her chops a bit while providing some contrast to the heaviness of the other two vocal pieces. Musically, this is in a somewhat spooky minor-keyed jazz vein, with flutes, vibes, and muted brass front and center. The CD's title track is an engaging interpretation of Willie Dixon's timeless blues classic. Woodstock-era rock and blues veteran Mike Finnigan, best known for his contributions to Jimi Hendrix' Electric Ladyland, lends a bit of authenticity to the proceedings, which work surprisingly well considering the highbrow nature of the rest of the CD. Hobbs again shines on blazing alto, and Finnigan takes an impressive solo turn on the Hammond B-3. I especially enjoyed Katz' guitar work, here. 'Lemmings,' the CDs most experimental piece, features a wind ensemble and some edgy vocalizing by Shrimpton and guest Warren Senders. Coming on the heels of so much heavy, dramatic, and aggressive music, I found this one piece a bit nerve wracking.
Despite a few minor flaws, The Same Thing is a bold and impassioned musical statement from a composer who revels in the myriad possibilities afforded by a talented and flexible big band. One cannot help but admire Katz and the JCA for their dedication and commitment to creative music. Thanks to the contributions of poet Paula Tatarunis and vocalist Rebecca Shrimpton, Katz' complex, politically astute work goes beyond the realm of contemporary music, blurring the line between avant garde jazz and performance art.