A turning point for a listener
andrew | lower east side | 03/29/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"this record was recommended to me by a friend in 1991 and it freed me from the confines of childish top 40 and opened my eyes to a thousand kinds of soulful music. this record is, in my humble opinion, the congress' strongest and clearly displays their formidable roots: south cali politpunk ala black flag and the minutemen, east coast primetime ala blood ulmer and ornette, and chicago blues ala otis rush and albert king. throw in other "given" influences like hendrix, coltrane, the meters and miles and you've got a beautiful distillation of american soul. several songs support my theory: "marginal" is the long lost antherm for america's disaffected and disillusioned, a minimal masterpiece of tight pedro funk; "bermuda blues" is a heartbreaking ramble on henry threadgill's quiet classic, absolutely meditative; "uh huh" is soundtrack and narrative to a cryptic and sleepy noir flick reduced to three minutes (when's the film gonna be released, huh?), perfect; "pickled bullhorn" is a downtown nyc honkytonk raveup wrecker with a stuttering cameo by elliot sharp and a big show-him-up by mr baiza (his house!). every other tune is sublime too, but those jump out and slap me every time i put this record on, even all these years later. give it a shot, and it might awaken you to the deep and far-reaching pool of thick american soul upon which floats this little tidbit of sunshine and darkness."
A Satisfying Yet Still Unkown Album
Mirror Man | Staten Island, NY | 11/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One thing I love about Jazz is that all of the musicians co-mingle, exploring the possibilities of sound with their chosen instruments, pushing their playing abilities to the brink and remain aggressive with their art form. Whether you come from the more traditional - conventional school of thought with Jazz or the more daring, "downtown" avant-garde approach one thing you have to say about this great art form is that every musician strives to learn as well as be heard. The recording by Universal Congress Of, The Sad and Tragic Demise of Fine Salty Black Wind, exemplifies that aforementioned idea I discussed earlier in the review. The leader Joe Baiza comes from a punk pedigree: Saccharine Trust - who were indebted to the late, great Minutemen as well as Black Flag. Some members of the band come from a New Orleans funk background. Together, they attempt, and succeed quite well, at using an Ornette Colemen harmelodic approach to the playing. The band remains busy at all times throughout the proceedings. Melodies fly by and you find yourself humming to the songs. Some standout tracks are "Freight Train" with its funky bottom-ended underpinnings and the closer "Man with Women" which unifies the approach. All in all, a fine album that as a listener challenges you in picking up the nuances of melodic patterns within the structures of the songs themselves."