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Elliott Sharp's Terraplane - Do The Don't

By Elliott Sharp

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Composed by Elliott Sharp. Recording mediums. CD. Duration 73' 22''. MDS (Music Distribution Services) #INT 34252. Published by MDS (Music Distribution Services) (M7.INT-34252).

Item Number: M7.INT-34252

Do The Don't (released for the first time in Europe, with five bonus works) is an indispensable gem for every blues fan who regards this music as more than a nostalgic trip to an imaginary past. Blues with the full potency of the early twenty-first century. A classic.Blues as nostalgic roots music? No way! A blues avant-garde formed in the US some time ago which sensitively incorporates the achievements of tradition and transforms them into an aggressive music of the future. They need neither computers nor any other electronic means, but can build on the resources and repertoire of classical blues. Before acts like Hazmat Modine, the Black Keys, and Son Of Dave developed their future blues, it was first of all New York guitarist Elliott Sharp who made new audiences aware of electronically amplified blues. With his band Terraplane, he has been opening up new paths for the blues since the mid-1990s. His 1994 debut album Terraplane, which was recorded when the group was still a trio, is probably the most efficient synthesis of blues and punk in recent rock history. Do The Don't, Sharp's classic of the blues avant-garde, is now finally available in this part of the world.When Do The Don't was released in the US in 2004, the New York scene was in a coma. The aftereffects of 9/11 were still perceptible everywhere. No one wanted to risk coming out from under cover and possibly making his statement a moment too soon. The confusion and lethargy were as great as the fear of misunderstandings. In the atmosphere of general numbness, Elliott Sharp was one of the first to speak out clearly and unequivocally. Do The Don't was a commentary on the state of the union. The album had the effect of a whip. Songs like Lost Souls, Stop That Thing, and Oil Blues wrenched the blues from the retro camp and restored its subversive friction. Ten years after its first album, Terraplane had developed into urban blues guerillas who vociferously attacked self-righteousness and world-weariness.Elliott Sharp has a reputation for being an uncompromising avant-gardist and math jazzer. He was in fact one of the protagonists of the now legendary New York downtown avant-garde, which also produced artists like John Zorn, John Lurie, and Bill Frisell. His band Carbon numbered among the pioneering noisecore groups. Sharp also recorded orchestral works and sensitive solo albums, worked with techno DJs, and released soundtracks as soft as butter. Although he is known as a relentless innovator on the six-string guitar, guitarists such as Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, and Jerry Garcia have also influenced his playing. The older he gets, the more indebted he feels to blues forefathers like Robert Johnson and Howlin' Wolf.Elliott Sharp's guitar salvos on Do The Don't leave no doubt that this album is only going in one direction - forward. To that end, he surrounds himself with a superb crew. The vocals are provided by the duo of Eric Mingus and Dean Bowman. Mingus lives up to his name; the son of jazz icon Charles Mingus is as nonconformist, powerful, and full of energy as his father. With the funk band Screaming Headless Torsos, Bowman demonstrated that he knows a thousand ways to find common ground between blues, rock, and jazz.Bassist David Hofstra played with the Microscopic Septet and, together with Sharp, in Wayne Horvitz's The President. The unflappable veteran, who crosses the line between avant-garde and tradition, was one of the founding members of Terraplane. Drummer Sim Cain is known particularly for his percussive thunder with the Rollins Band. Jazz musician Sam Furnace, who died shortly after the album was recorded, gave Terraplane's sound an earthiness with his baritone saxophone that makes the music moist and rich for all its urbanity. Hubert Sumlin enhances the CD as a special guest. Sumlin is not only one of the last surviving blues authorities, but to some extent is also Sharp's blues mentor.

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