The Treehouse Project: The Treehouse Project (1999)
Chicago, Illinois-based - The Treehouse Project
aims to meld disparate musical forms and methodologies into jazz-based themes and rhythms while instituting somewhat of a grassroots approach. On their debut and independently produced recording, the quartet performs with a slight edge featuring Dave McDonnell's funk/rock saxophone lines, Matt Thompson's pumping bass and George Kalantzis' well-constructed jazz/rock guitar soloing on the opening track titled, 'Ground Run'. With this piece, the musicians establish their respective goods in the customary ' let's introduce the band - fashion. Throughout, McDonnell toggles between soprano and C melody saxophones yet it's his performances on C Melody sax that provides a mark of distinction whereas drummer Michael Reed should be commended for his chameleon-like persona behind the kit as the band works through a hodgepodge of angles and motifs. Compositions such as 'The Brick' and 'Eulogy' are brimming with swing/free-bop motifs, Kalantzis' fancy fretwork and Thompson's fluid walking bass lines along with the occasional nod to Ornette Coleman style harmolodics, namely on 'Eulogy'. 'Blue Without You' is a rather harmless and altogether affable country ballad as Kalantzis' strums tender lines on his acoustic while 'Piqua City Limits' creeps up on you with it's laid back and organic feel, featuring electric slide guitar and appeasing melodies. Here, the musician's sound as though they were performing in an old barn tucked away in the deep woods as the lucid imagery shines with stark realism.
Overall, the musicians effectively merge American roots-music with familiar jazz ideologies and frameworks while maintaining a relatively unique group sound, which makes for a strong and noticeably refreshing repertoire. Fans of Charlie Hunter, and rock-solid groove orientated music may want to take notice here as The Treehouse Project exhibits similar aspirations while expounding upon traditionalism with thoughtfulness and conviction!
* * * ' (out of * * * * *)
Track Listing: 1. Ground Run
3. Super 8
4. The Brick
6. Tornado Watch
7. Blue Without You
8. Piqua City Limits
9. Dear Mr. Locrius
10. Mission Accepted
Dave McDonnell; C Melody & Soprano Saxophones, Bicycle Bell: Matt Thompson; Acoustic & Electric Bass: George Kalantzis; Electric & Acoustic Guitar: Michael Reed; Drums.
Check out the ?Trees For Life? website at: www.treesforlife.org
Record Label: 482 Music