Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Marc Ribot “Songs of Resistance (1942-2018)” Anti, 2018

Marc Ribot is one of the most eclectic post-modern musicians you'll ever hear on guitar. He toured exstensively with Chuck Berry and recorded guitars in many of Tom Waits' albums since 1984, but in his discography you'll also find not one, but two Cds dedicated to the music of Albert Ayler. Between the artist he worked with, there are David Sylvian, John Zorn, Elvis Costello and Mike Patton.

In 2018, Marc has become more political than ever. First with his last Ceramic Dog Trio album “YRU Still Here”, then with this new “Songs of Resistance (1942-2018)” issued by alt-rock label Anti. Politics and the resistance to fascism have a noble tradition in avant-garde jazz at least since 1970's album “Charlie Haden Liberation Music Orchestra”, where Ornette Coleman's bassist gave life to some free jazz versions of the anti-fascist and anarchist songs of the Spain of the 1920s.

Now that Trump has won the elections in the Us and the alt-right is spreading their wings all over the world, is time to embrace again the weapons of creativity against the Black Wave. And, who better than Marc Ribot? Helped by a bunch of brave singers like Tom Waits, Steve Earle, and Meshell Ndegeocello, Mr Ribot gives new life to old political songs for our harsh times.

Only the initial We are Soldiers in the Army has open references to jazz, with his textures of saxophones. The rest of the album is divided between folk songs (Bella Ciao, The Militant Ecologist), rock (The Big Fool), ethnic music (Rata de Los Patas), funk (John Brown) taking me back at the good old days in which I was listening to Ani Di Franco and Bruce Springsteen.

Obviously this is a post-modern record, in which you can touch all the time passed between the original songs and the present tense, but the original drive is still here. It's all a matter of our present tense. Fascism is coming back, and so many artists are lost in the supermarket of a sterile experimentation – now that everything has been experimented – but it's not the case of Ribot and his friends, whose idea and practice of music is still rooted in real life and their beings.

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