Fire Keeper, the debut album from the Daniel Rosenboom Quintet, exemplifies the vast possibilities for contemporary jazz artists. The album is undeniably jazz, with extensive improvisations and complex compositions, orchestrations and harmonies found in few other genres. The quintet is also unabashedly rooted in other contemporary genres. Progressive rock, as heard in the overdriven electric guitars, power chords and aggressive drumming, with additional influences from funk, contemporary classical and experimental music are major elements of the Quintet's sound. The compositional sense of Frank Zappa also looms large in Rosenboom's unique sonic world.
"Leaving Moscow" opens the album with an adept mixture of atmospheric subtlety alternating with an outright aggressive theme, reminiscent of the progressive rock band Dream Theater. In yet a third theme the horn orchestration tempers the expectations previously established by the heavily distorted guitar. Kurosawa's deft playing of the Bear Trax provides a bass line appropriate to any number of funk styles and Schnelle's effortless transition between drumming styles are two of the more striking features of the track.
The snarl of a muted trumpet and booming percussion on "With Fire Eyes" evoke what Duke Ellington's Cotton Club sound could have been in the present day. The stop-and-go effect, frantic melodic lines and instrumental effects of "Inspiration" bring to mind the aesthetic of Frank Zappa.
Though Rosenboom's compositions reflect many of his influences, they are uniquely combined to forge the Quintet's own sound. The form and orchestration of his compositions ideally frame the excellent musicianship of the individual band members.
Leaving Moscow; Seven on Seventh; With Fire Eyes; Tadodaho; Hush Money; The Fifteenth Hour; Holiday Motel;
Dan Rosenboom: trumpet, piccolo trumpet; Alexander Noice: electric guitar; Gavin Templeton: saxophones, flute, bass
clarinet; Kai Kurosawa: Bear Trax, ziggy, electronics; Dan Schnelle: drums.
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