New Video: Introducing the Funky, Jazz Fusion Sounds of A Tree Grows

“Wau-Wau Water” (A Tree Grows’s music video). from Hideki Shiota / FILM EI on Vimeo.


Comprised of founding members, Washington, DC-born, New York-based sibling duo Rashaan Carter (bass) and Russell Carter (drums), German-born, New York-based electronic music artist Emmanuel Ruffler, Georgia-born, New York-based Tivon Pennicott (saxophone) and Duane Eubanks (trumpet), the New York-based jazz quintet A Tree Grows features some of the city’s most accomplished and renowned musicians.

Founding members and sibling duo Rashaan Carter and Russell Carter were born in a very musical home as their father was a saxophonist and their mother, a radio programmer. Growing up, the Carters cut their teeth in the Washington, DC scene where they played with a number of locally and nationally renowned artists such as Gary Thomas. Rashaan relocated to New York to attend New School University, where he began collaborating with a number of the school’s faculty members, including percussionist and composer Joe Chambers — and where he met future bandmate Emanuel Ruffler.  German-born, New York-based electronic music artist Emanuel Ruffler once won the grand prize in the Thelonious Monk Competition, has a songwriting credit on Meshell Ndegeocello‘s “Aquarium” and has collaborated with world-famous designer Emanuel Ungaro, which led to Ruffler crafting the soundtrack for an ad campaign for an Ungaro-produced perfume.

Arguably best known as a member of jazz-soul vocalist Gregory Porter‘s backing band, Tivon Pennicott is a two-time Grammy winner and Thelonious Monk Competition runner-up. While in college Pennicott began playing with renowned guitarist Kenny Burrell, and as a result the Georgia-born, New York-based saxophonist has played in backing bands for Stevie Wonder and Wynton Marsalis among others. Adding to a growing profile, Pennicott collaborated with Esperanza Spalding on Radio Music Society and has toured as part of Al Foster‘s band.

Duane Eubanks is best known as a member of Dave Holland‘s two-time Grammy Award winning big band and as a member Mulgrew Miller‘s band Wingspan, and as a result he’s played in some of the world’s most renowned and well-regarded music venues including Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall and The Kennedy Center, as well as countless tours across Europe and Japan.  Eubanks has crossed over into other genres as he recorded and toured with an incredibly diverse array of artists including The Temptations, Alicia Keys, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Wu-Tang Clan, Freedom Williams, Kirk Franklin and DeFunkt.

The New York-based jazz quintet’s self-titled EP (which will serve as a teaser for their forthcoming full-length album) was released earlier this month and the band’s sound which is clearly jazz/jazz fusion based, also possesses elements of funk, bop jazz, jazz fusion shines through on the coolly atmospheric and funky first single “Wau Wau Water,” a composition that manages to evoke seething, bubbling and frothing water. And that shouldn’t be surprising as the band explains that each composition on both the EP and the LP is based around on a different concept, describing a distinct state in the evolution of life on Earth as we know it. “The images are snapshots, extending from the beginning of life, to the emergence of emotions, to aspects of modern human life. The cycle closes with possibilities for future development: self-perpetuating intelligence. The composition ‘Wau Wau Water’ is based on the following concept: ‘Enzymes are forming in a prehistoric ocean — evolving into bacteria. A stew of life is brewing, the cycle starts and intensifies in this patch of fertile Wau Wau Water.” As the band’s Emanuel Ruffler added “Defining and discussing these concepts during the rehearsal and recording process created a sense of purpose among the musicians and a deeper engagement with the compositions. This has transformed our creative process.”
Created by acclaimed videographer Hideki Shiota, who won Best Cinematography Award at the Asian American International Film Festival, the video employs a simple concept as you see the members of the band performing the song in the studio; however, the video is shot in a way so that you don’t see the musicians faces.