Music videos and jazz: they don’t make for natural bedfellows. A few record companies dipped their toes into the medium in the 1980s with predictably uneven results – Miles’s Tutu videos were ‘interesting’ and worth a look but Chick Corea’s ‘Elektric City’ is probably now an embarrassment to everyone involved, even the brilliant IDJ Dancers.
But Leeds-based renegades Shatner’s Bassoon may just have made the best ‘jazz’ video of all time. It was their name that first grabbed my attention. Any fans of Chris Morris’s essential ‘Brass Eye’ TV series may recall that the evil ‘made-up drug’ cake stimulated the fictional part of the brain called Shatner’s Bassoon (swearing alert below).
Fans of weird jazz will all have their entry points into the Bassoon’s music, which is certainly ‘challenging’. For me, it’s Mr Bungle, Zappa and Zorn rather than Ayler and Ornette. But back to the video. They put some money and thought into this and came up with something almost as disturbing and amusingly off-kilter as Aphex Twin’s ‘Windowlicker’, with a large dollop of Dali thrown in too. Well done, lads.