The liner note explanation of the title of Big Neighborhood's second CD release, penned by the group's guitarist/leader, David White, sounds sort of loopy and New Age weird. White claims that "in some circles 11:11 is a wake-up code as seen on digital clocks designed to reach the subconscious mind and trigger genetically encoded memories showing us that we are higher spirits...."
Claptrap. Go hug a crystal. That's my take on it. But when you spend an evening with the modern-leaning two disc set by this original-sounding Seattle-based quartet, then hit the sack early and wake up a couple of hours later, under the influence of either prostate problems or providence, and see 11:11 glowing on the alarm clock, it makes you stop and wonder.
In my review of Big Neighborhood's first disc, Neighbors (Origin Records, '05), I said the group sounded like a band that Steely Dan might have hired as a studio musicians. Revisiting that disc in conjunction with an immersion with 11:11 says that I might have gotten it wrong. By way of comparison, Big Neighborhood's sound seems to walk streets similar to those frequented by Chick Corea's Elektric Band, with a looser and more spontaneous swagger in its step.
This is a cohesive blend of glowing guitar (with a bit of Bill Frisell folksiness creeping in on occasion) with an ebullient, usually odd-meter bass/drum rhythm team and a succinct alto sax (weaving in and out of the mix; not standing out in front of it), working a precision versus freedom groove about as skillfully and engagingly as it can be done. The influences are varied�calypso, modern jazz, 20th Century classical, reggae, '70s rock�all mixed together by Big Neighborhood into a fresh, forward-leaning sonic brew.