The second volume from Jazz Sabbath is considerably more ambitious musically than the first and, to my ears, considerably more campy. The first volume is tagged/categorized as, among other things, musical parody. But, aside from the “liner” notes, I honestly didn’t hear any parody. I heard a genuinely earnest and serious attempt to play Sabbath as jazz. But there is a cheekiness to some of these versions that feels like it wasn’t there on the first one. And I cannot decide whether that’s a good thing or not.
The tracks come from slightly more varied sources, with only one from Paranoid (the jaunty, almost goofy title track), more coming from the debut this time, but songs coming from as far into the catalogue as Sabotage. As you might expect, a few of these tracks are deeper cuts, as is the nature of a sequel like this.
Another aspect of the nature of a project like this is how it isn’t as fresh the next time around. And that’s not anyone’s fault here, it’s just the way it is. Some of my lack of enthusiasm for this album comes from the fact that this is Vol. 2 and it’s just less exciting and new than the first album.
But some of it comes from the greater, um, ambition. The horns, in particular, feel campy to me, at times. And they come and go, going more than they come. There are moments when the horns are playing in particular where I almost feel like I’m listening to Jazz Heap, instead (Uriah Heap being a notoriously cheesy early British metal band, if you don’t know their music).
All that being said, sometimes the arrangements are more inventive, even if I worry about their campiness. And it’s still fun. It’s not like it’s not fun. It’s just…less fresh than the first one.