Dick Metcalf Reviews NO LUNCH IN HACKENSACK
ARTIST: JIMMY BENNINGTON, STEVE COHN
TITLE: No Lunch In Hackensack
LABEL: Unseen Rain Records
TUNES: At the Track by the Shack in Hackensack; What Bob Wants to Hear; The President’s Club; Steven; No Lunch in Hackensack I; Quiet Now (Denny Zeitlin); The Days of Wine and Roses (Henry Mancini); No Lunch in Hackensack II; For Debbie
PERSONNEL: Jimmy Bennington, Steve Cohn
Jimmy’s drums on this (somewhat) rambling foray into the nether-woods of New Jersey will catch your ears & shake them a bit… the opener alone, “At The Track by the Shack in Hackensack“, immediately shows the rapport these players have… they play off of, around & (even) through each other… I loved the vocals that were gently interspersed throughout (though you can’t quite call it spoken-word… more like “spirits speaking”, I guess you’d say). I’ve had a few sonic adventures like this myself, where the keyboard player (often) starts off with a kind of direction in mind & the drums trail it & then at some point, jump out ahead of the pack. The laid-back “Quiet Now” is about as solid a jazz piece as I’ve heard for duo music like this… not at all what you might expect from a simple drum/piano set, but full of life & the love of living it. You get nine tunes for your long-term aural pleasure and audio adventure… my personal favorite of those tracks is the oddly-titled “What Bob Wants To Hear“… at 12:39, there was plenty of room for each player to expand their improvisational horizons and do the thing that’s most important on these types of albums – have FUN with it… great high-talent & high-energy playing that will intrigue you and make you want to hear even more. I give Jimmy & Steve a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98. You can get more information at the UNSEEN RAIN RECORDS label page for this release. — Dick Metcalf
Chicago-based drummer, arranger and explorer of the edges of the jazz tradition Jimmy Bennington visited multifaceted pianist Steve Cohn‘s Hackensack haunts to record this sometimes lyrical, sometimes angular album that not only includes their forays into improvised compositions but features some very different views of a couple of chestnuts of the jazz repertoire.