Shine – Hanuman
Every jamband needs its own specific descriptor for its music. In the case
Hanuman, I would probably call it acousti-funk-grass. That title would leave
out some of the more obvious possibilities of Hanuman, like their tribal
rhythms and sultry saxophones. So maybe I could call it
acousti-worldgrass-funk. Nah. That would be too difficult to pronounce.
just call it good music and go get drunk, eh?
Shine is a remarkable cross-section of their abilities, since all of
tracks are live and seven of the eight were culled from the same performance
opening for the Mickey Hart Band in the summer of 2000.
"Savannah" is an eight minutes and change congressional
filibuster. The instrumentalists work together in producing a choppy and
lugubrious funk song with soaring acoustic interludes. What separates
from a number of other bands that try the same stunt is that their changes
tight and their funk is solid. Saxophonist Damien Atkin, who only plays on a
few tracks, lays down fluid riffs bursting with energy. He never drifts too
far into a Coltranean wonderland and makes sure that his horn is as
down-to-earth as the other acoustic instruments in the combo.
Percussionist Jarrod Kaplan uses a djembe most of the time and can
really crank out loud shots in the center. Kaplan's beats are the most
expendable instrument in the group since Law and bassist Tige DeCoster
are so adept at keeping the general flow of the song deep in the pocket.
Kaplan gives the band plenty of room to explore the richly flavored
although his beats never become exceedingly interesting.
"Baba Blues" is a downward sliding scale built on crisp
rhythmic work that leaves every head in the room bopping in a slowly
developing arthritic ballet. The guitar work on the tune is phenomenal
its fully funky development is played the way Scott Joplin said it should
be: slowly. Aitken goes to town on a fleshed-out solo that wanders from
Cannonball to porn and back again.