If the moniker for the combustible punk jazz trio The Dead Kenny Gs doesn’t say it all at first glance, one listen to their new album Operation Long Leash quickly makes intentions clear. Saxophonist Skerik, bassist Brad Houser and drummer/percussionist Mike Dillon are committed to musical subversion of the highest order.
Exploring a muso obsession of musical styles and sonic colors, The Dead Kenny Gs have both the courage and the chops to realize their wildest aural visions. One moment they draw inspiration from punk legends The Minutemen, the next finds them embracing the spirit of jazz giant Rahsaan Roland Kirk and still another speaks to the pull of indie rock progenitors Deerhoof; yet all the while sounding purely DKGs.
To further that extent, it’s not just music informing the trio’s voice, but a keen understanding of political conspiracy in American history. The album’s title, Operation Long Leash, comes from the clandestine CIA operation in the late ‘40s to fund Abstract Expressionism as a means for Western culture to undermine the rigid, confined and conformist ideals of the Soviet Union during the early years of the Cold War.