There are many young bands who merge the solid elements of rock with the sophisticated harmonics of jazz without falling into the trap of fusion. No pyrotechnics, no technical bullshit, just music with a story first and foremost, which doesn't mean that the band is not technically skilled, only that their skills are at the service of the music. Other bands in the same vein and line-up, but under-recognized and under-recorded, are the German band Firomanum and the US/Finnish/German band UNKL, and close enough to some of Hilmar Jensson's and Andrew D'Angelo's endeavors.
Quartet Offensive, from Baltimore is a good example of this. The band consists of John Dierker on bass clarinet, Eric Trudel on tenor sax, Matt Frazao on guitar, Adam Hopkins on bass, and Nathan Ellman Bell on drums. And yes, you count correctly, this is a quintet. The album starts with a strong guitar rif and rock beat, propulsing forward the double reed front line, but once the whole thing gets going, the piece collapses onto itself in raw chaos and musical debris, but needless to say the theme gets picked up again and ends in full power. Raw, entertaining, fun. After that strong opening statement, the band becomes a little more sophisticated, with unison themes and counterpoint, showing their gentler side, yet also demonstrating their unmistakable instrumental skills in the ensuing solos. The quality of the music lies in the nice combination of sensitivity, melodically and in the delivery, with the no-nonsense and straight-forward approach of rock. And the band varies quite well between wild powerful drive and sophistication. Recommended.
For more information on Quartet Offensive, check on MySpace.
Any suggestions on new and upcoming young bands? Let me know. I'll turn it into a special section.
Watch the band here :