Ted Sirota’s Rebel Souls ‘Seize The Time’ (Naim) 3/5

ted-sirotas-rebel-soulsChicago-born and based leader and drummer Ted Sirota has quietly established a reputation over three albums as a jazz musician with an open-minded approach. Stylistically this fourth album is situated in the post-bop genre with elements of free and a sensitivity to world roots music. Not surprisingly when one’s influences range from Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane and Monk to Fela Kuti and Bob Marley, the results are likely to be eclectic. So it proves on this entertaining outing that is a tad more restrained than on previous attempts. An immediate winner is the Caetano Veloso composition, ‘13 de Mayo’, the title referring to the date on which slavery ended in Brazil, and one that is regularly celebrated. Here the Latin rim drummming of Sirota perfectly compliments the rhythm guitar, which gives this number a distinctly South African township jazz feel. In contrast Sirota reverts to the wilder side of the band’s repertoire with a cover of the Clash’s ‘Clampdown’, the guitarist here obviously influenced by John Scofield, and Mingus’ seldom covered ‘Free Cell Block F, ‘Tis Nazi USA’. Throughout proceedings the melodic alto saxophone playing of Greg Ward impresses. A lesser known Miriam Makeba song,’Polo Mze parts one and two’ is divided into the percussion heavy first part and the funk laden second, characterised by dissonant guitar and fatback drum beat. In general Ted Sirota produces jazz with a social conscience which is a welcome throwback to the nineteen-sixties and adds an indie sensitivity of the punk era. Pursuing the world roots side may well catapult this band into the big-time, provided the self-composed pieces are leaner.

Tim Stenhouse