Album review in the SMH

Sydney Morning Herald

September 11, 2015

Shortlist album reviews: Paper Kites, JD Souther, Mr Ott, Flying Saucer Attack and the Maccabees

Mr Ott
DROP IT LIKE IT’S OTT (Earshift)

★★★½

It even had its own name, “Ethio-jazz”, a unique jazz offshoot that Mulatu Astatke nurtured in Ethiopia in the early 1970s, and it soon became a benchmark of hipness. You can hear why in Matt Ottignon’s band Mr Ott, which plays original music drenched in Ethiopian rhythms and textures that is so infectious as to erode my suspicion of projects so subservient to idiom. The grooves, a jigsaw of minimal contributions from horns, guitar, keyboards, bass, drums and percussion, have an edge of exoticism as well as creating surges of energy. Wah-wah guitar, almost the style’s birthmark, is here supplied by Ben Panucci, who also produces some startling solos. Ottignon’s tenor and baritone saxophones intermittently blaze like bushfires through rhythmic thickets in which Eden Ottignon’s bass plays a hypnotic part. Ellen Kirkwood provides slicing trumpet, Daniel Pliner the chunky or slippery keyboards and Dan Kennedy and Steve Marin hold down the all-important drums/percussion duties. JOHN SHAND

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