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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.
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.