Among the many great idiosyncratic talents of American music in the 20th century, Captain Beefheart would certainly figure prominently on any list. "...once you get past the audacious unfamiliarity of (his work), you realize that this was not just some big improvised mess, but in fact the most tightly composed polyrhythmic rock 'n' roll ever written"-Matt Groening (The Simpsons). Fast 'N' Bulbous is a Captain Beefheart tribute project, led by two innovators of New York's avant music scene: Gary Lucas, who was guitarist for Captain Beefheart's Magic Band in its latter years and saxist and arranger Phillip Johnston. Their mission statement: ?The idea is to use the compositions of Don Van Vliet as a vehicle for improvisation and arranging. The band contains a crew of seasoned improvisers from both the worlds of avant-garde jazz and rock, who render the music as both a tribute and a creative adventure in improvising. We use the horn section to take the place of the vocals, as well as transmute this guitar-based music into ensemble into ensemble interplay, between horns and guitar and rhythm section.? They energetically revive the spirit and sound of The Magic Band, while adding a big healthy dollop of themselves to it and making it their own, cartwheeling through tunes that are as gutsy as they are cerebral, and playing this wonderful repertoire with verve and soul. A must for any fan of this music.
"Fast 'n' Bulbous proved that Beefheart's songs deserve to be played in his absence and are, for all their knotty logic, quite playable...Johnston's brass scores hit the R&B meat and twisted swing that Beefheart embedded in spidery guitars... Lucas on searing bottleneck guitar celebrated the rock in Beefheart's extremes"
– David Fricke/Rolling Stone.
"Remarkably, these instrumentals hold onto Beefheart's obsessive strangeness, whch is really the best tribute that Lucas, Johnston and the rest of the Fast 'n' Bulbous crew could have given him."
– All Music Guide
"[They] recast Captain Beefeart's tunes and make the case for him as a composer the equal of Thelonious Monk."
– Nashville Scene
"They are the big brass band [Captain Beefheart] never had.... The group attacks Van Vliet's songs with the same idiosyncratic precision that he drilled into his own musicians."
– Rolling Stone
"...Fast 'n' Bulbous has a field day with the Beefheart songbook, turning his raunch cubist blues into exhuberant jazz-tinged delights."
– Chicago Sun Times
released 25 January 2005
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