Graeme Wallace: tenor sax; Max Forster: trumpet; Nick Maclean: Rhodes, organ, synth; Mike Murray: guitar; Doug Moore: bass; Tom Grosset: drums + Brownman Ali: trumpet.
The music of Snaggle, a fruitful sextet based in Toronto, translates into mature compositions and stupendous executions. The members of the band, virtuosos in their respective instruments, resort to a laudable sense of unity and superior taste to creatively orchestrate the nine pieces of The Long Slog, their sophomore feature album.
“Snaggle #7” brings us lots of fun through a riveting electro-jazz-funk that consistently alternates between smooth and powerful. In this track, the horn players showed improvisational acuity, and Mike Murray’s guitar sound was particularly appealing to my ears in its mixed hard-rock and jazz incursions.
“Sad Ritual” starts introspectively but doesn’t remain too long in that state. The initial wailing slides into an energetic rock where the super-active drummer, Tom Grosset, shows how he combines speed with accuracy.
Breezy and smooth modulations adorn “Tree Assassin”, which proudly distribute several catchy grooves outlined by organ, bass, and drums. This plot serves to support strong solos that never felt strained or misplaced.
“Theorum” is a thrilling, up-tempo tune that features the trumpet of Brownman Ali, an illustrious guest whose fluidity of language is remarkable. He found solid ground in the spunky, forceful movements of the rhythm section.
A penetrating wha-wha plays a crucial role in “SAW”, a mutant exercise that lives from surprising effects. Polished jazzy melodies blend with more aggressive bass lines inspired by Rage Against The Machine, while keyboardist Nick Maclean shows his gripping musicality.
Murray’s tuneful guitar, interplaying with Ali’s trumpet, is decisive to wrap “Lagaan” in a relaxing crossover jazz that slightly makes a turn in the direction of a danceable orgy of R&B and avant-jazz-funk. Here, the band members build up a crescendo, using their skills and expertise to deliver an overpowering finale.
The title track closes the album, leaving traces of rock, jazz and funk in the air.
The Long Slog inherited the same power and straightforwardness of Snaggle’s members who were capable of rendering a burnin’ hot fusion inclined to explore an infinity of possibilities within the same composition. In a certain moment they’re confronting Miles Davis with Medeski Martin & Wood; in the other, you may find the Red Hot Chili Peppers colliding with Incognito or Mahavishnu Orchestra.
01 – Snaggle #7 ► 07 – SAW ► 08 – Lagaan