Devil's Workshop Big Band | Idle Hands

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Rock: Jam-band Jazz: Big Band Moods: Type: Live Recordings
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Idle Hands

by Devil's Workshop Big Band

A 17-piece improvisational band "teeming with ideas, energy and [from the rapturous reception at this live date in Virginia], jam band appeal" - Downbeat Magazine. Featuring covers of Radiohead's 'Morning Bell' and John Hiatt's 'Have a Little Fait
Genre: Rock: Jam-band
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  Song Share Time Download
1. [free]
11:00 $0.99
2. Spanish Sanford
6:34 $0.99
3. The New Guy
7:02 $0.99
4. Have a Little Faith in Me
5:56 $0.99
5. Hittin' the Wall
3:58 $0.99
6. Mushroom Tattoos
12:27 $0.99
7. Today Was Good
6:01 $0.99
8. Oh Snap!
12:03 $0.99
9. Morning Bell
5:09 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Devil's Workshop Big Band is a 17-piece improvisational band dedicated to blurring the boundaries between jazz, rock, funk and all the other territories of today's Balkanized music scene. Formed just before Christmas 2000 by saxophonist Stephen Norfleet, the group started playing regular Monday night gigs in September 2001 in it's hometown of Richmond, Virginia, where it built a strong grassroots following that has remained loyal, even during the band's current hiatus.

Cramming into a smoky, boisterous ex-speakeasy, playing among gyrating fans and harried waitresses every week allowed the band's sound to develop very rapidly. The result of their first year's efforts is "Idle Hands," their debut CD produced by founder/leader/saxophonist Stephen Norfleet. Holding over 70 minutes of music, it features group improvisation, tons of original material, and covers of Radiohead's "Morning Bell" and John Hiatt's "Have a Little Faith in Me.

FOUR STARS- Downbeat Magazine



to write a review

Bo Wilson

Unbelievably tight horns
This CD is currently the only one available from this band,
and that's a crying shame... because this is a splendid
collection of music from some splendid musicians. The fact
that it's a live mix makes it especially impressive, because
no matter how much post-production sweetening you throw on
something, there's no substitute for getting the dynamics
correct in real time. These folks are clearly _listening_
to each other while they play, and you'll never hear a live
blend that's any better,especially when you consider how
many horns are blowing on most of these tracks.
Two things keep me from giving it five stars-- track six
contains a rap which is pretty inventive most of the time,
but which falters and tries, indelicately, to make a joke
out of it, to the detriment of the track as a whole. Track
one may mean more to deeply-schooled jazz afficianados, but
I couldn't tell whether they were were tuning up or playing;
just when they would settle into a groove I could enjoy,
they'd jump to something else, and I never got comfortable.
(It may be worthy of re-consideration whether they the first
track of their first disc quite so inaccessible--I hate to
think that people might give up at that point, but you never
But please understand-- these are one-percent quibbles
which leave me scoring them a 98 instead of a perfect 100.
There are a great many better-known jazz artists who have
already been surpassed by The Devil's Workshop, and I can't
wait for their next effort.

Trevel Beshore

DWBB skillfully uses improv and orchestration
This CD was a refreshing change from the current groove-jazz-jam wave that has been part of the college circuit for the past few years. The orchestration and composition really sets this band apart from other funkified jazz acts.
This disc is worth the price just to hear their amazing rendition of "Morning Bell"!

Reed Kendall

Henceforth a beautiful masterpiece
They rock out with certain objects that rhyhme with rock out as well...capiche?? Any one of these strapping men could woo a straight man gay...I think. Do kids read these reviews?

david kurz

concert reviewI
I saw The Devil's Workshop open up for Brass Construction in 1976 at the Morris Civic Auditorium in South Bend,Ind. They were a 7 piece funk band and perhaps the greatest live act I've ever seen! I wonder if that's where the Devil's Workshop Big Band got their inspiration...and name???!!!

Pat Bullard

Loved the CD. Keep them coming!
Title was a little misleading. I wasn't sure
what I was about to hear but was very pleasantly
surprised. Loved the energy of the band. Hope
to see much more from them in the future.

style weekly

"the song [spanish sanford] typifies the playful, powerful, and sometimes surpri
...the occasional off-mic playing and the faint yapping of a customer are more than compensated for by the immediacy of feeling, and the sense that these talented players are having a genuine good time. Someday they may record in the perfectly controlled confines of a studio. For now, their unconfined enthusiasm is an unfiltered delight.

ted kartzman

There is a distinct feel on this album, something special has happened in Richmo
For a 17-piece, DWBB emphatically explores and blurs boundaries between the jazz big band and slammin' funk band, all the while showing a softer side of gospel/R&B and contemporary jazz influences. A really interesting and very listenable disc, I was glad it happened upon my desk. Starts out devilishly dissonant with ["free"] and ends up gorgeously gospelish. There is a distinct feel on this album, something special has happened in Richmond and it was recorded and preserved. You can feel it on all the longer tracks as they patiently metamorphosize, these guys have anything but Idle Hands! The big band funk of "Spanish Sanford" got me moving, and was only topped by the great twelve and a half minute hip-hop vocal track "Mushroom Tattoos." "Mushroom Tattoos for everybody" chants the crowd for the refrain, you will be dancing in your kitchen after nary one listen! The superbly splendid cover of Radiohead's "Morning Bell" caps it all off in emotional raging fashion and you will know you have just listened to something beyond ordinary, something that other people need to be told about.

downbeat magazine

Saxophonist Stephen Norfleet and his Devil's Workshop aggregation are a nicely tongue-in-cheek 17-piece teeming with ideas, energy, and I suspect from the rapturous reception at this live date in Virginia, jam band appeal. Several cuts push 12 minutes, yet clearly cues are built into the charts to segue into diverse grooves; the mass of a dozen disarmingly raggedy horns manage not to overwhelm by the judicious use breakdowns and contrapuntal figures. The singalong "mushroom Tattoos" with a wry rap interlude is a ringer for the all-night trippers but manages not to atrophy because the band stays awake, pianist Daniel Clarke injecting Latin, free jazz and swing breaks, then easing the groove to a final close with Abdullah Ibrahim-like placidity. There's Earth Wind & Fire-style horn antics on "Spanish Sanford"; 'Nawlins jazz and funk with dashes of Horace Silver in "Today Was Good"; plus a take on Radiohead's "Morning Bell." -Michael Jackson

Indigo Averill

Great CD shipping was fast and worry free