Last Call Review: Revolutionary Snake Ensemble / Live Snakes / Accurate

Apr 18, 2014

The vitality of funk music connected to the traditions of New Orleans second line music is hard to resist. The Revolutionary Snake Ensemble, led by saxophonist Ken Field, brings this exciting, easily danceable groove into focus on the new effort, Live Snakes (Accurate 2014). It's the third album from this ensemble of musicians with a changing cast, but rock solid second line performances.

Based in Boston, the group has gained quite a reputation in its hometown in addition to New York City and successful appearances in New Orleans. The present recording documents four distinct versions of the ensemble, led by Field on four different live dates in 2011 and 2013.  Revolutionary Snake Ensemble keeps the danceable groove of second line music alive while stretching out on some numbers. Noteworthy performances take place on "Cassandra 4" which presents the ensemble in a white-hot intense mood.  The legendary Duke Ellington jazz standard "Caravan" is given a bold, organic rearrangement and statement.  There's also a free jazz piece, For Karen, a wholly improvised performance for the bandleader's wife who would pass away just eight days after the tune was recorded. It's followed by an emotionally charged "I'll Fly away" recorded after Field's wife had died. The willingness to present such emotionally sincere music lifts the Revolutionary Snake Ensemble into a first class band worthy of much wider recognition.

Tracks include: "Cassandra 4", "Rock of Ages", "Caravan", "For Karen", "I'll Fly Away", "Que Sera Sera", "Rock of Ages", "Parade", "I Got It"  and three other selections. For more information you may visit the band's website at: