SAXOPHONIST Peter Gordon took a sabbatical from his duties as leader of the Love of Life Orchestra, a downtown Manhattan avant garde big-band outfit, to make "Brooklyn," a solo effort for the new FM label, CBS' outlet for musical esoterica.
Gordon is a talented and sometimes inspired musician and improviser, but here he has squeezed out seven shapeless jazz-funk doodles, all dominated by a drum machine.
On the title track, Gordon punches up an android hip-hop rhythm riff, and synthesized munchkin voices call out the names of various Brooklyn locales. Gordon is obviously aiming at the dance-floor crowd, but his microchip-mantra is too monotonous to be really effective. Over another robot groove, Gordon sing-speaks "Red Meat," a silly story about a guy who goes out to the butcher's and comes back to find his girlfriend has left him for a vegetarian.
The stuff on side two is somewhat better. "Blue Duke," fueled by the piano of "Blue" Gene Tyranny, is an infectious instrumental, but like "Remember To Forget," it sounds like it's aspiring to become a sitcom theme. The LP ends with "Kora Music," a lilting, vaguely African instrumental dedicated to the memory of Gordon's friend, fashion designer Willi Smith, who died recently.
"Brooklyn" is beautifully recorded on two-track digital, which gives the record a startlingly realistic spaciousness and presence. And Gordon blows some shivery squalls and lyrical passages on tenor and sopranino sax. But more often it sounds like Gordon is constructing rather than composing, and his fascination with his new electronic Erector Set makes mechanical, but not musical, sense.
PETER GORDON -- "Brooklyn" (CBS BFM 42379). Appearing with the Love of Life Orchestra, Hugo Largo and Rude Buddha, Friday at the 9:30 club.