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MP3 Margaret Explosion - Skyhigh

Instrumental, improvisational jazz with an otherworldly lounge band aesthetic.

13 MP3 Songs
JAZZ: Weird Jazz, NEW AGE: Ambient

"Wednesday night found me diggin'' on the Margaret Explosion (complete with a re-hydrated and upright Paul Dodd) in the Little Theatre Cafe. I can get sick of just about everything I like, eventually - fried chicken, blondes, The Stones - but not The Margaret Explosion. Their esoteric wonder paints pictures in my head nostop. And I mean cool stuff, too, like a three-legged Little Egypt undulating up to her knees in coconut cream pie, while big bears on little motorcycles circle around singing "doo wah diddy diddy dum diddy do." No drugs, honest, just real good music. Good deserts, too."
— Frank DeBlase, Rochester City News

It''s 1969 Tonight
Rochester''s excellent cocktail-atmosphere, appetizer-jazz ensemble, Margaret Explosion, celebrates the release of its second CD, 1969, with a show at 8 tonight at Montage Grille, 50 Chestnut St.

So elegant that it''s almost not there, 1969 features three former members of the Rochester New Wave band Personal Effects, including Margaret Explosion leaders Peggi Fournier on sax and Paul Dodd on drums. Old Effects enthusiasts will barely recognize "Don''t Wake Me," a cut from the band''s 1983 album.
— Jeff Spevak, Rochester, NY Democrat & Chronicle

Margaret Explosion - Eclectic Jazz
So I''m sippin'' black coffee, Little Theatre Cafe with Margaret Explosion aloft on gossamer wings and complimenting assorted musings. Ray Anthony sounded the charge back to reality and Iceberg Slim came in to add a few snaps and give us all the finger. But I didn''t see you there, did I?

Not all bands sound good in the Little Theatre Cafe. Sure, it''s a tres cool joint, but harnessing the acoustics sometimes proves to be tricky. Margaret Explosion not only harnesses the room''s sound, but also throws a saddle on it and rides it around. Even without the Leary-esque visuals, this band is an experiment in texture and color that just works. How, you may ask? Because they sound good.

Rooted in dreamy improvisation and just a pinch of post-Beat aesthetic, the band seems to rely on a relatively thin structural framework. They just dive into the 12 cuts on their new CD 1969. Hear them for yourself when Margaret Explosion plays Friday, November 28, at The Montage Grille, 50 East Avenue, at 8pm.
— Frank DeBlase, Rochester City News

Personal Effects Continued
One of the big names on Rochester''s 80''s music scene was a band called ''Personal Effects''. Where are they now?

After a half-dozen albums, ''Personal Effects'' disbanded in 1987. But you''ll find its nucleus in ''The Margaret Explosion''.

"I think it was nice to sort of musically take a break, and then come back to it," says guitarist, Bob Martin. "Because we never got like those big bands who hate each other or anything like that," he laughs.

Bob Martin, Peggi Fournier, and Paul Dodd have been friends since ''Personal Effects'' began in 1980. The band''s first album came out on New York City''s Cachalot Records in 1982. That label deal was short-lived, due to the group''s determination to be in control of its own destiny. "We always fought to do just what we wanted to do," says drummer Paul.
The arty band played the East Coast, including NYC''s Danceteria, Peppermint Lounge, The Ritz, and the Mud Club. Locally, it drew more than a thousand fans to its big shows at Rochester Community Playhouse and Top of the Plaza.

"People still..''Oh, I remember the Top of the Plaza!''," says Peggi. "But those were kind of extravaganzas, and we had liquid light shows, and dancers behind a scrim, and that kind of thing."

The 5-year old, stripped-down ''Margaret Explosion'' takes the atmospheric sounds of ''Personal Effects'' even farther.

"(It''s) more abstract," explains Paul (who''s been married to Peggi since 1976). "I think we all sort of lean that way now... (We''re) just looking for something fun to do."

You can check out ''The Margaret Explosion'' live, Wednesdays through October first at Little Theatre Cafe from 8 to 10pm.
— Sally Cohen, RNews

Surely Greg Slack is captain of the Barney Ruble bass team. He sits and fires a few low enders to Catcher Dodd. He Paul semaphores pulsation''s from the Marcelle Marceau school and Peggi and Bob chew on it masticating former Buddhist incarnation honey tones from the basements infrastructure. I''ll bet many will sip a late'' not knowing their lips are being sound tracked yet there will be a certain gliding resonance in the engine of the Honda on the way home. I dig it .The only thing I''d say is : say a few words to the audience once in a while. They dig you.
- Steve Greene

1969 is still playing on my speakers. On repeat. No, I haven''t worn it out yet. It has much more discipline and evocative emotion than "Invisible Idiot." I stopped in at the Little Theater show the last evening that you were there. The sound and playing was fabulous -- even better live! Paul''s smoothed theatricality on the drums was most impressive, the drum sound slightly more reduced on the CD. When I''m done with it, it goes on the shelve between Coltrane and Jon Hassell. Congratulations! Even my hard-to-please brother-in-law will dig this one. If he still lives.
- Skip Battaglia, Film Maker

Hail Bohemia
The Margaret Explosion is not screaming for your attention. At its weekly Friday night happy hour gig at the Bug Jar, the band sets up in the darkest corner of the club. It makes no announcements or introductions. The musicians don''t take flashy solos, or make grandiose musical statements.

What they do, from their dark corner, is provide the crowd with a cool, knowing, improvised soundtrack for its early evening activities. They cast a bohemian glow over the room, and, like magic, people look more interesting, conversations become more engaging, and Rochester seems like a better, hipper place to be.
Chuck Cuminale - City Newspaper

Space Jazz
Watch me play taboo with myself. Here are the words that most lazy, ordinary music critics lean on, words I will not use in this description of the Margaret Explosion: dreamy, ethereal, eclectic, lush, David Lynch, wash, soundscape, trippy, hypnotic, waterbed.

Ok, here goes.

The Margaret Explosion floats with with an artistic style and grace and a loose, relaxed reference to melody that hints at jazz dissonance, beatnik hipness, and lullaby comfort. Though thoughtful, moody, and peaceful in a leopard print, red-velvet-camouflage, lounge kind of way, the quartet still reveals an underlying sense of personal effect, purpose, and intimidation lurking in their inky noir like a demon in a fairy tale.

The Explosion''s beautiful saxified music is most akin to that prelude to REM, when we first drift off to ...OK, so maybe they are a little dreamy (gimmie a break).
The Margaret Explosion celebrate the release of their new CD, Happy Hour, on Friday, February 28, at The Bug Jar, 219 Monroe Avenue, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Free. 454-2966.
— Frank DeBlase, Rochester City News

Bug Jar Vets Still Play Ethereal Jazz (Communist Cocktail)
Happy Hour Fridays at the Bug Jar have assumed an air of high-brow, art-
school dilettante excess. The eclectic bar is filled with baguette ladies and grad students in their 1st year of film study, conducting serious chats over the whisper of ethereal jazz by the Margaret Explosion.

The Margaret Explosion is a loose collective of local music scene veterans who produce music that sounds as though everyone was sucking on an ether rag before the show. At the moment, the band is four musicians; five if someone like La-la-land guitarist Phil Marshall sits in.

The Margaret Explosion plays dark, tribal cocktail music It’s the perfect band for an Easter Island barbecue. If David Lynch walked into the Bug Jar, he’d sign the band for his next film soundtrack

Paul Dodd supplies the bohemian percussion. He’s married to Peggi Fournier who plays a slow, enchanting alto sax, which was a respected jazz instrument until Kenny G turned its music into the official interlude of dentists’ waiting rooms.
Dodd and Fournier have been a part of the Rochester scene for more than a decade, going back to the Hi Techs and Personal Effects. Now 47, Dodd remains a presence here, pointing out that “I think I’m still playing in the Ripton Band.” As the Ripton Band hasn’t had a gig or a rehearsal in a while Dodd is a little unsure, but that’s how it goes on the local scene; bands fade in and fade out and fade in again, like a weak radio signal.

But the Margaret Explosion, that’s regular employment. The band has played nearly every Friday at the Bug Jar since October 1996.

The Margaret Explosion was born when Dodd and Pete LaBonne, who’s living in the Adirondacks, were throwing around ideas for a band that would cover old ‘60s hits such as Hound Dog. But when they booked that first gig at the Bug Jar—the trio didn’t have a name at that point—they threw away the idea of playing other peoples’ songs and improvised jazz all I evening.

“After a month, some people started asking if they could sit in,” says Dodd “After three months, we had 15 people playing. We had a cello, three saxophones, a trumpet, violin, mandolin. Another percussionist, a drummer, a couple of poets. It got so unwieldy, we had to move to the back room.”
LaBonne ended his stay in Rochester and returned to the Adirondacks, and Dodd and Fournier began to reel in their increasingly bloated project. It’s now basically Dodd, Fournier Michael Rizzo on drums and Greg Slack on bass. Slack played with Lou Gramm in the late ‘60s, but didn’t wave his resume at Dodd to get the gig. “He was always there at the bar and one night he offered to play bass, says Dodd. “We didn’t know him or anything.”

To this day, the Margaret Explosion—originally conceived as a cover band—has never played another musician’s music. Bug Jar favorites such as Jungle Extraordinaire can be heard on one of the Margaret Explosion’s four live cassette tapes, available at the shows.

The band’s improvisational skills came into play the night someone pulled the fire alarm at the Bug Jar. As fire trucks pulled up outside, the crowd migrated to the windows to watch the flashing lights. The Margaret Explosion riffed over the whole thing, and later at its Monday-night rehearsals developed the music into a piece called Fire Engine.

“It’s spacey pieces, kind of hypnotic instrumentals,” says Dodd. “There are no real solos. Phil Marshall sat in last week and kind of stepped up to the front a few times, and we filled in behind him, and it wasn’t until after we were done that we said, ‘I guess we don’t really do that sort of thing.’ “

So the Margaret Explosion is sort of a communist cocktail mix: Equal parts for everybody, including the people who have shown up for just for the $1 Rolling Rocks.

“It’s just a really easygoing thing,” says Dodd. “Fun. The Bug Jar is a perfect spot for it. The music’s meant to be a deliberate background thing. It’s just kind of stuff to space out to.”
— Jeff Spevak, Rochester, NY Democrat & Chronicle

Margaret Explosion is an otherworldly lounge band that played an esoteric weekly Friday night happy hour at the Bug Jar for a year and a half. The ethereal soundtrack they provided cast an often eerie, slow-motion effect on the just-out-of-work crowd''s revelries. The group''s improvised minor-key melodies bathed the room in a melancholy glow, suggesting old eight-millimeter home movies, and blurring the line between experience and reminiscence."
Chuck Cuminale - City Newspaper

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