All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

288

Zach Brock and the Coffee Achievers: Live At The Jazz Factory

Budd Kopman By

Sign in to view read count
The relentlessly cooking and very original Live At The Jazz Factory is the third album from violinist Zach Brock's band, The Coffee Achievers, following their eponymous 2003 debut on Secret Fort and Chemistry (Secret Fort, 2005).

The violin in jazz, especially that of the mainstream, can't get no respect, despite Regina Carter's 2006 MacArthur Award. Brock wishes to remedy that situation, composing and playing jazz that is mainstream by default, only because it is not avant-garde. Indeed, Orbert Davis is quoted as saying that Brock is ..."not just a violinist who plays jazz, but a jazz musician who happens to play the violin."

This phrase signifies a player of a "secondary" instrument whose technique and attitude towards it defeats expectations. In Brock's case, his sound avoids the sharper edges of the normal violin sound, plus he has added a lower string that gives his violin a range down to that of the viola, darkening it even further.

While Brock plays the violin normally and what he does can be recognized as technically correct playing, it is his music that sets him apart. His compositions mix all kinds of genres from straight-ahead to rock, funk, blues, country and beyond. More importantly, the easily memorable tunes are arranged and performed by the band as extended dramatic stories and not merely head-solo(s)-head structures.

Live At The Jazz Factory is a killer set recorded in front of a very appreciative audience. Brock's band, which includes keyboardist Sam Barsh, bassist Matt Wigton and drummer Jon Deitemeyer, are as unified as can be, and play the stories with verve, energy and high spirits.

The rhythm section is important in these shifting works and Wigton and Deitemyer are very tight as they support Brock and Barsh, while driving the band through the rhythmic and metrical intricacies that the arrangements demand. Wigton, playing acoustic bass here, is also a dynamite electric bassist and lives and breathes this kind of music. He contributes "In Thoughts And Dreams," the final and longest track that moves through many rhythms and meters, bringing shouts from the crowd.

The set ranges in mood from poignant to explosive and is jazz of the highest order, with each tune taking the audience on an aural journey. Brock, although he is the leader, chooses not to dominate; rather, he is but one voice among many, and often drops out entirely as the rest of the band throbs and bubbles.

Live At The Jazz Factory will make a believer of those holding even the slightest prejudice against the violin that Brock is, indeed, a musician first and a violinist second, and that the Coffee Achievers can take down the house.

Track Listing: Now I Know; Resisting The Beast; (Leftover Stub from the) Wax Museum; Pugland; Almost Never Was; In Thoughts And Dreams.

Personnel: Zach Brock: acoustic 5-string violin; Sam Barsh: piano, nord, melodica; Matt Wigton: acoustic bass; Jon Deitemyer: drums.

Title: Live At The Jazz Factory | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Secret Fort Music

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Out in the Open CD/LP/Track Review
Out in the Open
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 16, 2018
Read Contemporary Chaos Practices CD/LP/Track Review
Contemporary Chaos Practices
by Don Phipps
Published: November 16, 2018
Read Changed Beings CD/LP/Track Review
Changed Beings
by Chris May
Published: November 16, 2018
Read We Must Mustn't We CD/LP/Track Review
We Must Mustn't We
by John Sharpe
Published: November 16, 2018
Read Two Infinitudes; The One You "see" and the One That Is You. CD/LP/Track Review
Two Infinitudes; The One You "see" and the One...
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 16, 2018
Read Always Forward CD/LP/Track Review
Always Forward
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 15, 2018
Read "Wrong Turns And Dead Ends" CD/LP/Track Review Wrong Turns And Dead Ends
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 13, 2017
Read "Ara" CD/LP/Track Review Ara
by Don Phipps
Published: January 4, 2018
Read "First Things First" CD/LP/Track Review First Things First
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: May 8, 2018
Read "Od Ponedelnik" CD/LP/Track Review Od Ponedelnik
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: August 14, 2018
Read "After Caroline" CD/LP/Track Review After Caroline
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 24, 2018
Read "Wings Uncaged" CD/LP/Track Review Wings Uncaged
by Geannine Reid
Published: November 2, 2018