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Iggy Pop gets your attention in new jazz offering


Jamie Saft, Steve Swallow, and Bobby Previte with Iggy Pop "Loneliness Road" (Rare Noise)

What's this? you might well ask.

Excellent question.

Drummer/composer Bobby Previte has been playing with composer/keyboardist Jamie Saft for a while now. But on these slo-mo ballads, the two of them are playing with maximum sensitivity with the most lyrical and delicate electric bass player extant Steve Swallow and -- are you ready? -- Iggy Pop singing ballads. Compared to Iggy's ballads, Willie Nelson's croonings of the Great American Songbook sound almost Sinatra-esque. It's as if Previte and Saft discovered Iggy singing some of weirdest barfly karaoke in all of American music and decided to give us the musical equivalent of, say, the photography of Robert Frank.

Singing ballads Iggy's voice is far from robust. His breathing is delicate and his vibrato is so wide that it makes even the stronger songs sound like some tender flowers of the bowery. Without Iggy, this is post-Coltrane impressionism of a most static stripe. Iggy is the whole point here even though he only sings on three selections. Previte's drums are nothing if not artful but what Saft is doing can be somnolent in the extreme. It's Iggy's contribution that gets your attention.

2 1/2 stars (out of four)


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