The Brotherhood of the Drum
From their first tune 451 was in overdrive swinging hard with Ryan Burns' Fender Rhodes piano adding an electric flavor to an otherwise acoustic ensemble. The band was tight playing over a solid backbeat on one piece followed by an upbeat fusionesque tune that transitioned into a Latin groove on the next. Drummer Matt Jorgensen maintained a consistent driving swing with Mark Taylor's saxophone and the electric piano layering over the top of Phil Sparks' bass. Led Zeppelin's "No Quarter," a song that has become an old standard for this group, started with its familiarly haunting electric piano intro with Jorgensen and Sparks laying down a solid rock groove. Taylor lays out the main melody of the piece, lyrical from the introduction, and the bass and drums take it down with the keys soloing heavily then Burns takes the piece outside with distortion reminiscent of a 1975 Zeppelin live gig that in another time would compliment Robert Plant's wailing vocals and Jimmy Page's heavy guitar feedback...then 451's groove kicks back in. The sax solos alto over the rock background fluidly within the framework of the piece as they head into a crescendo then it is back to the keys-only intro as the sax lays back in with No Quarter's melody and the group locks in with a rock groove to take it out and end it suddenly. "Hope Part One" from the group's most recent release began with Phil Sparks showcasing his bowing talents on the acoustic bass then, with keys and brushes complimenting, Taylor comes in with a light melody, vivid tone over .owing rhythm. The groove picks up and it becomes increasingly apparent that the important thing to these guys is the music driven by their skills and abilities without anyone in the group showboating. The set was drawn to a close with a high energy version of Les McCann's "Compared To What" that featured the guest work of vocalist Paul Moore.
The music started light with the group easing into it, Ryan Burns' chords on his Fender Rhodes piano prominent, fast grooves with partial swing. Drummer Matt Cameron's trademark bass drum accents and dexterity developed and honed doing hard time with rock bands Soundgarden and Pearl Jam caught the group up in the intensity and power of his driving rhythm. The organ laid in hard giving way to Cameron's solos, Geoff Harper's acoustic bass playing distorted arco pushing the music out in waves. Burns opened a number that he wrote with ambient organ that picked up in intensity as Cameron complimented with a thunderous undercurrent. Harper's bowing screaming arco complimented Burns' chord changes, and the group was outside of any musical construct, the intensity building into an eruption with no rhythm, no framework. The rhythm starts with the band in 3/4, Cameron hits hard then takes it down as Harper keeps solid time. As Cameron stated, Monk is the influence here. Harper's bass grooves and swings, Cameron's time is unyielding, but Burns' organ takes the music out into the unknown and creates an atmosphere of uncertainty. This is what made the group's musical improvisations work. At the end they played "Highway Star" by Deep Purple.