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According to the press release this bi-coastal USA ultra-progressive band is inspired by the classic chord-less quartets of modern jazz via a fast-moving program, complete with tricky, mind-bending works, odd-metered unison excursions and other revved up implementations. The musicians' assertiveness is embedded into various offshoots and stylizations such as hard-hitting bop and poignant call / response jaunts, framed on structural elements. Even when they enter the free jazz domain, the quartet moves forward with a sense of purpose. Indeed, it's not a renegade blowing session, yet they intersect the full-length pieces with short vignettes, largely under 2-minutes in length, comprised of oddball rock grooves and other settings that spawn angst, humor or gruff dialogues.
They kick the proceedings off with "The Last," which is built on a North African type cadence firmly rooted in the jazz space amid airy horns and bassist Sam Minaie's (Tigran Hamasyan, Ravi Coltrane) surging lines. Moreover, drummer Mark Ferber (Lee Konitz, Norah Jones) executes cyclical patterns followed by trumpeter Daniel Rosenboom (Burning Ghosts, Vinny Golia) and clarinetist Brian Walsh (Meredith Monk, Nils Cline) who up the ante with a hyper-mode onslaught and climactically oriented dialogues.
The audiophile sound quality is an added treat, since the quartet's full force comes at you with tornadic intensity. And "Fist" is a piece developed with crazy complex choruses and Ferber's ricocheting rimshots as "Capitol Absurdity" promotes visual aspects via surreal tonal swashes. Here, the proceedings transform into a power-packed bop episode, heightened by the hornists' fluid and bouncy phrasings and Ferber's poetic drum solo, segueing into a blazing finale. In sum, Quoan's valiant disposition, energized performances, and ferocious improvisational acumen offers much more than your standard meat and potatoes jazz stew.
Track Listing: The Last; Shunyata; Demicolon; Fine Dining; Moon Cage; Gnomish; Fist; 216; Witch's Butter; Legislation; Capitol
Absurdity; Braids and Brooms.
Personnel: Brian Walsh: clarinet, bass clarinet, contrabass clarinet; Daniel Rosenboom: trumpet, piccolo trumpet, flugelhorn;
Sam Minaie: bass; Mark Ferber; drums.
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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