What Are They Saying About
The River Cow Orchestra?

Bovinity Infinity

As many regular readers of this 'zine know, I've been reviewing works from our friend CRGIII for some many, MANY years now. This group, RCO from MO clearly "tastes like jazz", "feels like jazz" & "is jazz"! What I appreciate most about the music on "BI" is that it's different, in fact, it's definitely different - a great vid demonstrates just how jazzy-kewl the group gets - at YOUTUBE, you'll find "Investment Bankers". Just think of the attitude that our own hero Frank Zappa expressed in so many of his compositions, and then combine it with excellent recording, boppin' backbeat & vocals from a couple of the 8 or 9 players on the album, & you'll have a pretty good idea of where this music will take your head! You can hear streams at their MYSPACE site... & as you listen, you can read the notes, which will tell you (as I suspected) that this is all improvised - which makes it "infinitely" better for this reviewer... This jazz isn't stock schlock, & can't in anyway be confused with the dreaded "smooth" category, but it's right up my alley, 'coz it will get you all excited unless you're deader than an old titches' wit already. I sincerely believe this is the best creative venture I've ever heard from a midwestern group of cows & give it my MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, as well as the "PICK" of this issue for "best creative jazz"!

review by Rotcod Zzaj, Improvijazzation Nation


I played this one very often in the last few weeks. No problems in having this music filling our rooms like a perpetuum mobile. Listening to the River Cow Orchestra is enjoying the company of Brent Bowman (keyboards/sax), Greg Field (drums), C. Goff III (percussion, winds), Michael LaGrega (violin), John Lomas (guitar synthesizer), Allan McGinty (bass) and E.E. Pointer (trumpet). Only the name of Charles Goff III did ring a bell. He is a veteran of the independent music scene, running Taped Rug Productions since the 80s. The orchestra is specialized in long and open psychedelic improvisations. Making clear reference to the electric 70s work of Miles Davis. Especially in pieces like 'Chromatophore' where trumpeter Pointer does some of the solowork, the ghost of Miles Davis is very near. Most improvisations breath a relaxing and laid-back atmosphere. The music is grooving, but not in a funky, jazzy way, except for the first part of the last track 'Celebration of the Wind'. Surely this is not retromusic, reviving some pretended good old days. On the other hand, we are also not on the forefront of musical developments between these cows. But they do touch upon something. They create very open and wide structures and take time to develop things. This results in very captivating music that is never in a hurry and working very consequent to its goal. Their improvisations originate on stage or in the studio without much pretension. It's just there.

They have at least one more CDR out, called ' Emerging'. But that is about all I know about their history. Kansas City, Missouri is their hometown and it is here that they do most of their live concerts. It is especially the strange and typical drumming by Greg Field that prevent these improvisation from becoming something we have heard many times before. He doesn't swing or funk or rock, but spreads out non-spectacular but binding patterns that work.

review by Dolf Mulder, Vital Weekly

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