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Music, at its very core, is an expression of an artist's thoughts, feelings or experiences. That comes through in a big way with Beaty Brothers Band, featuring twins John and Joe Beaty.
The pair emerged from a broken home and multiple parents who were addicted to drugs and, after some quality education, were able to enter the music profession. Joined by keyboardist Yayoi Ikawa, bassist Jim Robertson and drummer Ari Hoenig, alto saxophonist John and trombonist Joe produced their first album as a team.
Robertson's funky bass line sets off "Genbaku." Trombone and sax blend with Joe leading, while John answers. The trombone solos over a deep, thumping bass. Melodic at first, the instrument goes through some bruising paces. Ikawa and Hoenig help lay the foundation. The pace moderates somewhat in transition for the saxophone solo. The accompaniment is very subtle at the beginning but, after a slow passage, the energetic pace resumes.
"Ares" is a little off the beaten path. The bass carries a brooding undertone, amplified by the organ. The brothers harmonize on the melody. This soundtrack to a danger scene features more of Hoenig's dexterous drum play. A background free-for-all accompanies the trombone solo as it builds in intensity. The sax solo is accompanied by some finely synchronized, stop-time beats by the bass, drums and organ. The sax wails, particularly on one extended note. And just when it seems John is about to wind it up, he cranks it up with a series of high-speed rolls.
"Insomnia" isn't likely to put anyone to sleep. Though its mood is haunting, it's anything but tranquil. The brothers again harmonize on the melody. A bass groove sets up the saxophone solo. John takes it down to its lowest depths, while freely bouncing around with a sense of purpose. As with all the songs, the lead is matched by the intensity of the accompaniment. Joe adds some effects to his trombone, underlining this piece's outer-space feel.
The brothers composed and arranged all seven tracks, making this album as fresh as it is original. And while one brother or the other has the lead most of the way, the sidemen are not overlooked. Ikawa, Robertson and Hoenig have plenty going on in the background, at times equaling the leads. It's all made sweeter by the fact that Joe survived a life-threatening illness during the process.
Track Listing: Genbaku; Reason and Faith; Ares; Kenkou; Insomnia; Waking Up; They Cried.
Personnel: John Beaty: alto saxophone; Joe Beaty: trombone; Yayoi Ikawa: keyboards; Jim Robertson: bass; Ari Hoenig: drums.