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10/31/2014 – One of the two bands for tonight’s gala Halloween event at Andy Geertsen’s Rhythm & Rye, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, was setting up early, so I got a chance to talk with one of the band’s leaders, Brian Haas, as they were getting setup. I hadn’t realized they had been around so long until talking with him. Definitely a power jazz/rock trio that will be reviewed in the very near future in these pages (Brian passed me two of their most recent CD’s for review – cool)! I had actually reviewed JFJO way back in issue # 38 (they got a “PICK”, too).. I believe that was after witnessing them (with a horn section at the time that featured a local player) during the Olympia Experimental Music Festival; the Rhodes work from Brian is absolute killer, especially in live performance mode (like last night)… Oly will welcome them back anytime, I’ve no doubt… hard edges with a “take no prisoners” approach. It’s high-energy music like this that R&R is becoming famous for, & I’ve no doubt we’ll be seeing these fantastic players again.
As the bands do sound checks & such, R&R is full of spirits, both liquid & ghostly… don’t see any zombies yet, but the party is definitely gearing up for a full night of unholy rhythms! Heebie-jeebies & hooligans abound at 8:59 as Joe Doria, of McTuff, cranks up the sound on the Hammond B3; they didn’t actually get started until around 10:10 pm. Of course, the B3 in Joe’s hands (& feet & fingers) is right in tune with the Halloween theme – KILLER… juke-joint jazz beyond BELIEF! Andy Coe’s guitar and drums from Tarik Abouzied provide just the right balance for Joe’s kickin’ pedal-driven riffs & they take off for the outer regions in a trio that is absolutely stellar (not to mention that they’re doing this in costume… look closely at the pic on the left… – what a hoot). The first tune has an excellent guitar solo, and the drums just SMOKE! The second tune featured a synth lead-in by Joe… nice undercurrents and some great bass-pedal stuff on the Hammond. Right on target for the theme of the eve – spooky, spooky – at least until the organ kicks back in & elevates th’ PHONK level to the max! The whole house was RAWK’in’ it on this piece. There’s absolutely nothin’ better than pro jazz to illuminate the deep, dark night on All Hallow’s eve, & these two bands made downtown Olympia glow like a star! Thanks go, as always, to Andy & the whole staff at R&R for providing us the kind of jazz to die for – BOO!!!!
10/20/2014 – It gets easier & easier to enjoy the happenings at Rhythm & Rye as they expand their (and our) horizons! Last night I was privileged to meet & watch Jessica Lurie and her Megaphone Heart Band; I’ve been listening to (& reviewing) her since issue # 37 & also issue # 66. She had an old friend of mine, Bill Horist, on guitar, too; the rest of the lineup was Rene Hart (Honey Ear Trio) on bass and Ollie Klomp on drums; so I knew it would be a splendid set of music. As always, it was great to be able to catch up with Bill & briefly meet the other players. They setup/rehearsed early (already on the stage when I got there about 7:15 pm or so); showtime was scheduled for 8:00, & they made it about 8:30 (still far more punctual than most of the bands in R&R). The first piece had a nice percussion start as a lead-in to a deep, dark vocal by Jessica… very nicely organized, but still full of the “spirit”… Bill’s guitar lead is “right there”, yet much more subtle than some of the work I’ve heard him do live before. After the first phase of the vocal, Jessica jumped in on her sax & TOOK IT ON OUT to an absolute WAIL! The combo of solos that transpired, along with some totally fine vocal work, made this a great & earthy song… I totally dug it. The second piece led off with a beautiful bass section, with Bill doing some great effects stuff behind Rene; all rolling over to a flawless sax lead that soared right on out to etherspace. The players were all “talking with each other” in a language easily understood by the audience… the keyword for all this impressive musical activity was creativity! There’s nothing “ordinary” about Jessica’s music… high voltage colors flying & sparking the rainy night skies of downtown Oly with the brightness that only passion for musical freedom can impart. The last tune I could stay for was “Southwestern Drive”… splendid sax intro that led into a very “gypsy-like” kind of thing, with all the players right ON it; the piece stuck with me all the way through the raindrops on the way home. Another totally successful show from our friends at R&R. Absolutely GREAT jazz!
10/20/2014 – I just posted some fine videos of Pat Battstone… VISIT!
10/18/2014 – Andy (Geertsen, Rhythm & Rye) had given me a heads-up (way back in August) that there was going to be one ‘elluva show on the 17th of October… a double-bill featuring an opening by Tetrabox & The Teaching as the main band. There are members of both bands who I’ve watched before in other groupings… a couple days before the show, I got a note from Joey Walbaum (leader for Tetrabox) asking if I could be there for their opening session… how cool is that? I had done a live-show review for Klozd Sirkut in August that had Joey doing keyboards for them. This Tetrabox lineup is nothing short of spectacular, with Joey as the leader and a whole host of players supporting his excellent vocal and keyboard talents. The “final soundcheck” starts their set and is unique in itself, with Joey out on the dance floor monitoring & checking the sound for the horns, drums & guitars… very cool, ‘coz it doesn’t feel like a soundcheck at all… it’s a full-blown dance fury, with Joey out on the floor where the crowd is… excellent way to start off a set – & those horns are KILLER…. show is already kickin’ – & it ain’t even started yet! The second tune starts off with a supercharged synth intro (with sax), then goes right into Joey’s silky-smooth vocal… very well organized & solid structure…. sax lead on this one is a SCORCHER & the rhythm never stops. Third tune is a solid souler (or as Joey calls it, Electrosoul)… cracker-jack horn opening with some fine/smooth changes & the keyword is PUNCTUALITY! Soaring guitar lead after the vocal. # 4 was a high-beat (triple time) vocal lead… it’s a little “fast” for the dancers on the floor, so they just kinda’ watch the players… sorta’ like an “orchestral disco” once those horn riffs kick in. The fifth tune has a drum machine intro – definite excellence in rhythm & cool electro-soul vocals bring home exactly what Joey was talkin’ about when he called their music electro-soul… it’s one of the most driving tunes I’ve heard in a long time… got th’ whole jungle dancin’, to be sure. Oly should be SO glad to have this venue, & bands like this… Joey & his crew definitely SMOKED IT – I loved their show! (unfortunately, they don’t have a CD out yet, but Joey told me he’d get me a copy as soon as it’s ready – & this group needs to put out a CD, for sure).
The top-bill band The Teaching features two players who are also part of Industrial Revelation (who I got to review LIVE back in June), Josh Rawlings and bassist Evan Flory-Barnes… Jeremy Jones, the drummer, is a totally adept player who I haven’t watched before. This trio is fantastic, with pure raw energy flying at you… definitely a different vibe than Tetrabox, but all three players are stellar talents and project a strong jazz presence, with an underlying sense of power that you won’t find elsewhere! They start out with a DOW-un & phunky keyboard/drum lead-in with solid roots in rhythm… the tune goes off into some keyboard-phuzz heaven that even the angels can’t comprehend & finally into the “outer jazz” zone that displays the full talent of each member of this great trio; very solid chops and changes for each player – great bass solo from Evan, scorching drums by Jeremy & then one helluva’ vocal by Josh… I just loved this tune, & so did the audience… they got some rip-roaring audience appreciation at the end of this one! Their second tune is “Apex of a Beautiful Day“, from their “Birds In Flight” CD release… again, great energy on display in a tune full of beat & totally swank energy. These cats are amazing, one of the most solid trios I’ve seen (yet) this year… they will wrap your spirit up and carry you off to the outer reaches of the universe… as you can tell, I was mightily impressed & will be reaching out to them to get copies of their CD’s for future review here. This band is just further proof that the Great Northwest has no lack of talent, and is a haven for bands on the rise. I totally dug what they were doing, and (once again), Olympia is blessed to have super players like this on their stages. Definite excellence! & of course, our thanks to Andy for lining this all up – another absolutely SMOKIN’ night in the magickland of Olywa!