Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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  • No Friction [Gramavision, 1988] B+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

No Friction [Gramavision, 1988]
"Jazzmen Play the Blues," says the cover sticker. Such claims have excited me unreasonably ever since I witnessed Henry Threadgill and friends back Left-Hand Frank lo these many year ago, and what could live up to that? Not this, if only because no real bluesman (as opposed to rocker) anchors it. After progressing from Delta to New Orleans to bebop to lounge-organ, it settles into jazzmen's r&b, with Pheeroan akLaff staying in Al Jackson's pocket on "Love and Happiness" but favoring a more swinging groove. Ronnie Drayton and Bernie Worrell make some lounge act, and "August Wilson's Urban Blue Blues" is what a young Ornette Coleman might have come up with if he'd tried to write a "Now's the Time"--bent bebop, blues mostly by association. B+