Big Ass Space

review = B


Wingnut is a roots jazz trio from upstate New York. Built around the masterful keyboard work of Mike Stark, Wingnut’s brand of earthy, three piece fusion is not too dissimilar from the vibe created by jazzy jam trio pioneers, Medeski, Martin and Wood. Although there’s a bit of ground to cover before reaching MMW’s brain popping level of spontaneous combustication, Wingnut is on the right track with this independent, debut release.

-Big Ass Space- is a well produced effort that was recorded ‘live in the studio’ over a two day period in August of ‘98. Stark and bandmates Walt Lorenzut on bass and drummer Zaun Marshburn exude cool sophistication as they take their sweet time through eight, mostly instrumental compositions. The exception is "Hammondsport," a rainy day, blue-jazz mood piece featuring guest vocalist Jen Middaugh.

But it’s Stark, who in addition to having penned most of the songs, creates an array of keyboard textures that makes this album work. From the majestic tones of a grand piano and the Hammond organ’s swirling, church mass meets ‘Phantom of the Opera’ split personality, to the funky clavinet gurgles that carve Wingnut’s deepest grooves, there’s plenty of interesting room to explore in this -Big Ass Space.- ###