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The popular talent show, American Idol is often smothered with male Bob Segar wannabes or female divas striving to be the next Jennifer Lopez. But it's a welcome surprise when a talented finalist delves into a nouveau progressive-rock schema. Such is the case with vocalist Leslie Hunt, who broadcasts a formidable presence with District 97, a unit that aligns convention with inviting arrangements, spanning assorted rock and pop genres.
A sample of the ensemble's artistic prowess is highlighted on "I Can't Take You With Me." Here, a pop-inflected tune seamlessly intertwines with classic progressive-rock and a smattering of metal, thanks to guitarist Tim Tashjian's crunching chug-a-lug lines. An arrangement consisting of a deterministic theme that is speckled with warm affection by Hunt, the band executes snappy pulses amid whispery passages and precision-oriented time signatures. The musicians pursue a balanced mélange of disparate metrics, to complement a memorable hook.
District 97 imparts a multidimensional line of attack. Carefully executed, but not overly rigid, the artists project a novel group-centric vision that translates into a mark of authenticity.
Personnel: Leslie Hunt: lead vocals and backing vocals; Katinka Kleijh: cello; Rob Clearfield: keyboards, baritone guitar (4); Tim Tashjian: guitars; Patrick Mulcahy: bass; Jonathan Schang: drums, percussion.
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.