VT Reviews Col. Bruce Hampton with Dennis Palmer Live Permance

VT's Blues

Col. Bruce Hampton

Col. Bruce Hampton
with Dennis Palmer
Live Performance - July 3-4, 1999
At Brandy Ho - Atlanta, Georgia

"I can't describe the music"
"I couldn't hum 3 notes together that he played"
"It's like having Jimi Hendrix at the tomb of Jesus... they'd be asking what the f*ck is that..."

That's the way Colonel Bruce told me about Dennis Palmer - the keyboard player who was with Derek Baily - the a-musical guitarist.

I did not know what to expect, whether I'd even like the stuff.

Arriving late (having just caught 2 fantastic sets by John Mooney in Winder, GA - some 40 miles east of Atlanta) I was apprehensive about what I was going to hear and half regreting not staying for the 3rd John Mooney set.

Did I understand it?

Can I explain it?

Did I even like it?


Joseph Patrick Moore

No, I did not know what he was doing or what was going on but he stopped me in my tracks the first time I heard him play. The Colonel and his yet to be named band, I think they were the 13th Sun tonight, or was it the 13 Frozen Formosan Floosies or was it the 13th 11?

Let me try my best to describe Dennis Palmer and his "music" - It's like being shown the gates of hell when it's open or inside of heaven both at the same time.

Dennis is best described as "Snake Neck" - he says Joseph Moore's bass neck (see photo) was attenpting to be as long as his..... His movements are serpentine. His playing is devasating and attention grabbing. He plays sounds - not just musical notes - it may sound like noise at times but if you listen you realize that it is music.

If you try to follow what he is playing you will be lost within less than a bar - seriously. But if you follow the rhythm of the band - then you'll realize that he is playing *with* the band. But listen to him in isolation - bam! you will not get it...... This frightens the sh*t out of musicians.

Dennis Palmer

Lucky I am not - so I "dare" go and talk to Dennis and ask him to explain it - which he doesn't really, but he confirms my descriptions.

At times he'll sound Techno - other times he'll sound like an unearthly drum ensemble, other times he'll sing and use delays, effects to make himself sound like a chorus plus orchestra. Most of the time he's freaking everyone out, he is that good. That's my best attempt at a description - take it or leave it

BUT I heard it - 2 nights in a row.....

Oh, btw Jon Fishman and Trey Anastasio of Phish turned up to jam with the Colonel and sat in for a 30+ minute version of "No Where is Now Here" Remember the gates of Heaven and Hell are open and lead to the same place.

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Barry Richman