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Review | PJ Newman

Review: KZSU Radio

by Craig Matsumoto, KZSU

Jazzy sax solos over odd synth soundscapes. Newman starts with sampled sounds and synth washes, overlaying a concretely jazzy soloist — often Jessica Lurie, a saxophonist with an adventurous but accessible style (check out her pop/fusion band, Living Daylights). A mix of thoughtfulness and fun jamming.

This doesn’t apply to Track 5 (see below).

1- Slow, pretty sax tones
2- Bright sax wanderings over synthy soundscape. Cool hand drums join in later.
3- Spare guitar over water droplets. Slow and meditative.
4- Like “danger” music from a movie soundtrack. Small synth piece
5- Eh? It’s a ROCK SONG, bluesy, even rollicking, with lyrics and a horn section. With a slow bar-band jam, packed with solos, that stretches the time to 18 minutes! Totally out of left field. I love it.
6- A lonely jam, slow. Like #2 but with two saxes and a darker, more experimental feel.
7- Reprise of #1, ends after 1:35. Then a pause and the “hidden track” at -3:15: An upbeat synth number, recalling the closing credits of “Buckaroo Banzai.”

….. Not that it’s related, but Graham Connah as a CD with a similar pun title: My Dog Has Fleas. It’s a fun jazz romp, similar in attitude to this one (but more “directly” jazz, no soundscape work). Jessica Lurie doesn’t appear on that one but she’s probably acquainted with Connah.

Review: All Music Guide

By Adam Greenberg

On The Hand of Dog, Seattle-based artist PJ Newman puts himself to work creating a series of innovative sets. At times reminiscent of Zappa, and at times simply playing with the sounds of his samples, Newman puts together a nice collection of works. His guitar is the centerpiece of the majority of the pieces, often in interplay with a pair of saxes, courtesy of the highly able Jessica Lurie and Sue Orfield. Ben Smith provides a solid drum backing on the necessary tracks, and fiddle star Martin Hayes and bluegrasser Danny Barnes each provide their talents for a track or two. It’s avant-garde music on the side of jazz, with notes of the Doors, synth rock, and Ornette Coleman thrown in for good measure. Tread with caution as it’s somewhat uncharted territory, but there are rewards to be reaped in this album for the curious listener.