Loveletter #2 is a companion piece to the Muffins' excellent Double Negative, as it came from the same sessions, but it's also something of a different beast altogether. Double Negative featured predominantly new compositions by Tom Scott and Dave Newhouse, performed with a number of guest musicians, notably Marshall Allen and Knoel Scott from the Sun Ra Arkestra on three tracks. Loveletter #2 is entirely improvised (a first for the Muffins) and features Allen and Scott on the entire thing. There's a common misconception that entirely improvised music is the equivalent of free jazz, but that's just not the case. Improvised music can be melodic and structured and even get your feet tapping, and that's the rule of the day here. The performances are loose, but not free. In fact, there's a note stating "Structures were initiated by the Muffins," but the only piece that really sounds as though it was worked out in advance is "Smooth Joe" because of the unison horn work. You can hear the pieces being built from the ground up. Someone initiates a rhythmic or melodic idea, and the other players pick up on it and elaborate, then send it into new territory. There are tons of great, riffing horn work throughout. As players and listeners, these guys really know when to work a riff and when it's time to move on to something new, so there's always a definite forward momentum to all the pieces. There's also a pervasive playfulness on Loveletter #2 that might not normally be associated with improvised music. You've got to admire a band that tries something new after more than 25 years of existence, but Loveletter #2 is a good listen, too.
|In This World||The Muffins feat: Marshall Allen / Knoel Scott||4:40|
|Happy Now?||The Muffins feat: Marshall Allen / Knoel Scott||6:38|
|Monsta||The Muffins feat: Marshall Allen / Knoel Scott||2:41|
|Chickenhead||The Muffins feat: Marshall Allen / Knoel Scott||11:14|
|Dog Park||The Muffins feat: Marshall Allen / Knoel Scott||5:06|
|Smooth Joe||The Muffins feat: Marshall Allen / Knoel Scott||2:54|
|Dr. Mid-Nite||The Muffins feat: Marshall Allen / Knoel Scott||5:34|