Skalpel, Skalpel

Philip Sherburne

By Philip Sherburne

on 06.15.11 in Reviews
Bringing the hall of mirrors back into impressively clear focus

Were it not for the occasional slurry hiss of scratched and warped vinyl, you could be forgiven for believing that Skalpel were a "real" jazz band. Instead, it's a just duo, and a non-instrumental one at that. Poland's Marcin Cichy and Igor Pudlo spent years boning up on Eastern European jazz, eventually massaging their vast record collections into collaged-together jams like those on their self-titled debut. Unlike more razor-happy recombinant artists, Skalpel stress a sense of naturalism, with loping bass/drum/piano grooves beneath dense horn parts and extended solo passages; occasional snippets of voice, marked with the telltale nasal accent of vintage records, serve to break the illusion, bringing the hall of mirrors back into impressively clear focus.