Tag: jazz fusion

With the release of their first two albums’ 2020’s All News Is Good News and Daylight Savings, the Melbourne, Australia-based instrumental, jazz-funk outfit Surprise Chef — Lachlan Stuckey (guitar), Jethro Curtin (keys), Carl Lindberg (bass), Andrew Congues (drums) and their newest member, Hudson Whitlock (percussion, composition and production) — quickly amassed a fanbase internationally, while establishing their self-proclaimed “moody shades of instrumental jazz-funk” sound, which draws from 70s film scores, the samples that form hip hop’s foundations,w jazz fusion and jazz funk. 

But while inspired by the sounds of the past, the Aussie outfit actively push the boundaries of instrumental soul and funk with an approach honed by countless hours in the studio, studying the masters, and perhaps more importantly, “the tyranny of distance” that helps create a unique perspective to their work. 

The band was limited in the fact that there weren’t many people making or even talking about instrumental jazz/soul/funk in Southeast Australia, let alone putting out records. And as a result, this gave the band an opportunity to develop their sound and approach in a sort of creative isolation, where a small circle of friends and like-minded musicians fed off each other. 
“Being in Australia, being so far away, we only get glimpses and glances of this music’s origins,” Surprise Chef’s Lachlan Stuckey says. “But hearing a label like Big Crown was one of the first times we realized you could make fresh, new soul music that wasn’t super retro or just nostalgic.” 

The Aussie outfit’s third album Education & Recreation is slated for an October 14, 2022 release through Big Crown Records. Their Big Crown Records debut sees the band putting their unique sound and approach on full display.

So far I’ve written about two singles:

  • Money Music,” a strutting and funky pimp walk featuring an expansive arrangement consisting of skittering breakbeats, twinkling key and vibraphone, a sinuous and propulsive bass line paired with a wah wah pedaled guitar that ends with a dreamy fade out. Sonically “Money Music” struck me as being a slick, mischievous and remarkably self-assured synthesis of Polymood and Sauropoda-era L’Eclair, old school hip-hop breakbeat compilations and jazz funk within a mind-bending twisting and turning song structure with rapid tempo changes. 
  • Suburban Breeze,”  a trippy composition that features elements of Return to Forever and Headhunter-era Herbie Hancock, hip hop breakbeats and film scores centered around twinkling keys, bursts of organ arpeggios, soulfully fluttering flute, sinuous bass lines and metronomic-like percussion. Sonically, the song evokes breezy, easy-going summer afternoons of daydreaming and hanging out without anything in particular to do. 

“Iconoclasts,” Education & Recreation’s third and latest single is a dreamy lullaby centered around twinkling keys, shimmering and looping guitar lines, skittering yet metronomic-like percussion paired with boom bap drumming and a subtle bass line. The song evokes the sensation of drifting off to sleep — perhaps while you’re working at something.

“‘Iconoclasts’ was recorded in the final hours of the marathon eight-day recording session for Education & Recreation,” the Aussie outfit explains. “We’d been locked in our house, the College Of Knowledge in Coburg, Australia, recording for roughly 12 hours a day, and there was very little left in the fuel tank. The recording ended up having a super unique energy within the collection of tracks we did for Education & Recreation, due mostly, I think, to the manically tired state we were in and the knowledge that we only had to complete this tune and then we’d be allowed to finish the session.” 

The Aussie jazz funk band will be embarking on their first North American tour this October. The tour includes a stop at this year’s Desert Daze and an October 13, 2022 stop at The Sultan Room. Check out the rest of the tour dates below.

Surprise Chef Tour Dates

Oct 1-2 – Lake Perris, CA – Desert Daze

Oct 4 – Zebulon – Los Angeles, CA

Oct 5 – Bottom of the Hill – San Francisco, CA

Oct 7 – Star Theater – Portland, OR

Oct 8 – Fox Cabaret – Vancouver, BC

Oct 9 – Barboza – Seattle, WA

Oct 13 – Sultan Room – Brooklyn, NY

With the release of their first two albums’ 2020’s All News Is Good News and Daylight Savings, the Melbourne, Australia-based instrumental, jazz-funk outfit Surprise Chef — Lachlan Stuckey (guitar), Jethro Curtin (keys), Carl Lindberg (bass), Andrew Congues (drums) and their newest member, Hudson Whitlock (percussion, composition and production) — quickly amassed a fanbase internationally, while establishing their self-proclaimed “moody shades of instrumental jazz-funk” sound, which draws from 70s film scores, the samples that form hip hop’s foundations and jazz fusion and jazz funk. 

But while inspired by the sounds of the past, the Aussie outfit actively push the boundaries of instrumental soul and funk with an approach honed by countless hours in the studio, studying the masters, and perhaps more importantly, “the tyranny of distance” that helps create a unique perspective to their work. 

The band was limited in the fact that there weren’t many people making or even talking about instrumental jazz/soul/funk in Southeast Australia, let alone putting out records. And as a result, this gave the band an opportunity to develop their sound and approach in a sort of creative isolation, where a small circle of friends and like-minded musicians fed off each other. 
“Being in Australia, being so far away, we only get glimpses and glances of this music’s origins,” Surprise Chef’s Lachlan Stuckey says. “But hearing a label like Big Crown was one of the first times we realized you could make fresh, new soul music that wasn’t super retro or just nostalgic.” 

The Aussie outfit’s third album Education & Recreation is slated for an October 14, 2022 release through Big Crown Records. Their Big Crown Records debut sees the band putting their unique sound and approach on full display. Now, earlier this month I wrote about album single “Money Music,” a strutting and funky pimp walk featuring an expansive arrangement consisting of skittering breakbeats, twinkling key and vibraphone, a sinuous and propulsive bass line paired with a wah wah pedaled guitar that ends with a dreamy fade out. Sonically “Money Music” struck me as being a slick, mischievous and remarkably self-assured synthesis of Polymood and Sauropoda-era L’Eclair, old school hip-hop breakbeat compilations and jazz funk within a mind-bending twisting and turning song structure with rapid tempo changes. 

“Suburban Breeze,” Education & Recreation‘s latest single clocks in at a little over two minutes and yet manages to be an expansive and trippy composition that features elements of Return to Forever and Headhunter-era Herbie Hancock, hip hop breakbeats and film scores centered around twinkling keys, bursts of organ arpeggios, soulfully fluttering flute, sinuous bass lines and metronomic-like percussion. Sonically, the song evokes breezy, easy-going summer afternoons of daydreaming and hanging out without anything in particular to do.

The Aussie jazz funk band will be embarking on their first North American tour this October. The tour includes a stop at this year’s Desert Daze and an October 13, 2022 stop at The Sultan Room. Check out the rest of the tour dates below.

Surprise Chef Tour Dates

Oct 1-2 – Lake Perris, CA – Desert Daze

Oct 4 – Zebulon – Los Angeles, CA

Oct 5 – Bottom of the Hill – San Francisco, CA

Oct 7 – Star Theater – Portland, OR

Oct 8 – Fox Cabaret – Vancouver, BC

Oct 9 – Barboza – Seattle, WA

Oct 13 – Sultan Room – Brooklyn, NY

New Video: Seattle’s High Pulp Shares Surreal and Symbolic Visual for “You’ve Got to Pull It Up From The Ground” feat. Theo Croker

Seattle-based jazz outfit High Pulp features:

  • Antoine Martel (keys, synths), a self-professed mad scientist with a wall of modular synthesizers and a passion for film scores and abstract soundscapes
  • Rob Homan (keys), whose innate ability to process, deconstruct and reassemble material on the fly bordered on the impressive and scary
  • Scott Rixon (bass), who comes from a punk and hardcore background and possesses pop sensibilities
  • Victor Nguyen (tenor sax), a Pharaoh Sanders acolyte with an ear for urgent, entrancing solos
  • Andrew Morrill (alto sax), whose bold tones and fearless harmonic sensibilities earned him a reputation for pushing the old school into the 21st Century
  • Bobby Granfelt (drums), whose hip-hop and bebop-inspired drumming laid the rhythmic foundation for the entire project

High Pulp can trace their origins to a loose, weekly jam session at Seattle’s historic Royal Room. “When you put us all together, our sound isn’t so much a fusion as it is a synthesis,” the band’s Bobby Granfelt says in press notes. ““There’s a lot of different personalities coming from a lot of different places, and we use it all as fuel to create something that’s totally our own.”

The Seattle sextet’s latest album Pursuit of Ends is slated for a Friday release through Anti- Records. The band’s unique brand of experimental jazz is simultaneously vintage and futuristic, often hinting at Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Aphex Twin and My Bloody Valentine and a wide range of others. The album’s material sees the band carefully balancing meticulous composition with visceral spontaneity and centered around virtuosic performances.

While High Pulp is primarily centered around their core six, Pursuit of Ends sees the band making judicious use of a board network of collaborators with guest spots from Jaleel Shaw (sax), who has played with Roy Haynes and Mingus Big Band; Brandee Younger (harp), who has played with Ravi Coltrane, The Roots, and Makaya McCraven; Grammy-nominated Theo Croker (trumpet); Jacob Mann (keys), who has played with Rufus Wainright and Louis Cole to help push their sonic boundaries even further.

Pursuit of Ends‘ latest single “You’ve Got To Pull It Up From The Ground” is a mind-bending and incredibly slick synthesis of bop, jazz fusion, funk and hip hop. The composition begins with an extensive bop jazz-inspired, drum solo. The song then quickly moves to a section featuring rapid fire percussion paired with sinuous bass lines, twinkling keys and a mournful, modal horn line led by Theo Croker’s expressive Miles Davis-like playing. Throughout the rest of the song, the melody floats and dances through the instrumentation. While the material is rooted in precise performance of the written composition, there’s ample room for soulful, free-flowing improvisation among a collection of sensitive and thoughtful artists.

“During COVID we spent a lot of time listen to Miles Davis’ Second Quintet, and specifically the drum solo at the start was inspired by ‘Agitation’ off of E.S.P.,” Granfelt explains “There’s something about that quintet that is so awe-inspiring. I think it’s the way they have such a deep shared concept which allows them to improvise in a meaningful way.”

“Pull It Up” is really a concept that is at the core of the band,” Granfelt explains. “It’s sort of about magic, sort of about will, sort of about self-love. It’s a concept based in the idea that things are already where they need to be, and it’s about unearthing what is already there as opposed to creating something ‘new’.”

Directed by Isaac Calvin and Seth Calvin, the accompanying video draws on the song’s overarching theme of digging deep, being persistent and staying humble. The video features Granfelt doing useful but mundane tasks: pulling nails out of a board, washing dishes, tying knots and so on. Towards the end f the video, Granfelt builds a shrine, but the offerings aren’t high quality of expensive; rather, they’re scuffed up, well-worn items including roadside flowers, cigarette butts, trinkets, tchotchkes and knick-knacks.

With the release of their first two albums’ 2020’s All News Is Good News and Daylight Savings, the Melbourne, Australia-based instrumental, jazz-funk outfit Surprise Chef — Lachlan Stuckey (guitar), Jethro Curtin (keys), Carl Lindberg (bass), Andrew Congues (drums) and their newest member, Hudson Whitlock (percussion, composition and production) — quickly amassed a fanbase internationally, while establishing their self-proclaimed “moody shades of instrumental jazz-funk” sound, which draws from 70s film scores, the samples that form hip hop’s foundations and jazz fusion and jazz funk.

But while inspired by the sounds of the past, the Aussie outfit actively push the boundaries of instrumental soul and funk with an approach honed by countless hours in the studio, studying the masters, and perhaps more importantly, “the tyranny of distance” that helps create a unique perspective to their work.

The band was limited in the fact that there weren’t many people making or even talk ing about instrumental jazz/soul/funk in Southeast Australia, let alone putting out records. And as a result, this gave the band an opportunity to develop their sound and approach in a sort of creative isolation, where a small circle of friends and like-minded musicians fed off each other.
Being in Australia, being so far away, we only get glimpses and glances of this music’s origins,” Surprise Chef’s Lachlan Stuckey says. “But hearing a label like Big Crown was one of the first times we realized you could make fresh, new soul music that wasn’t super retro or just nostalgic.” 

The Aussie outfit’s third album Education & Recreation is slated for an October 14, 2022 release through Big Crown Records. Their Big Crown Records debut sees the band putting their unique sound and approach on full approach. Education & Recreation‘s latest single “Money Music” is a strutting and funky pimp walk of a composition featuring an expansive arrangement consisting of skittering breakbeats, twinkling key and vibraphone, a sinuous and propulsive bass line paired with a wah wah pedaled guitar that ends with a dreamy fade out.

Sonically, “Money Music” strikes me as a slick, mischievous, and self-assured synthesis of Polymood and Sauropoda-era L’Eclair, old school hip-hop breakbeat compilations and jazz funk within a mind-bending twisting and turning song structure with rapid tempo changes.

The Aussie jazz funk band will be embarking on their first North American tour this October. The tour includes a stop at this year’s Desert Daze and an October 13, 2022 stop at The Sultan Room. Check out the rest of the tour dates below.

Surprise Chef Tour Dates

Oct 1-2 – Lake Perris, CA – Desert Daze

Oct 4 – Zebulon – Los Angeles, CA

Oct 5 – Bottom of the Hill – San Francisco, CA

Oct 7 – Star Theater – Portland, OR

Oct 8 – Fox Cabaret – Vancouver, BC

Oct 9 – Barboza – Seattle, WA

Oct 13 – Sultan Room – Brooklyn, NY

Steve Terry Project is a Denver-based jazz/jazz-fusion/funk outfit. The band’s latest single “Hot Mess Express” is a a loose and laid back track seemingly drawing from 70s funk and jazz fusion centered around a bluesy and soulful horn line, twinkling organ, sinuous bass lines, bursts of retro-futuristic synths, rolling percussion placed within an expansive and improv-driven composition featuring a explosive peaks and meditative valleys. The composition also manages to be spacious enough for each musician to take the metaphorical wheel, catch the song’s funky groove and jam out.

Written during a caffeinated drive across Georgia and South Carolina, Terry found himself humming the bass line, connecting its repetitious nature to the seemingly endless sameness of trees, road, highway sign, trees, road, highway sign, sky. The composition’s horn line is meant to represent the stop and start nature of breaks in the trees — or a new landmark approaching. The track is also heavily influenced by the Grant Green standard “Jan Jan,” as Terry recalls having just performed it at an open jam prior to recording “Hot Mess Express.”

New Video: Brooklyn-Based Jazz Fusion Outfit Kolumbo Shares a Trippy Groove-driven Homage to Imperial Bikers MC

For the Dallas-born, Brooklyn-based composer, arranger, keyboardist and bandleader Frank LoCrasto, beach culture has held a certain, tropical mystique — despite growing somewhere completely landlocked. Family trips documented on camcorder, featuring slinky jazz-fusion soundtracks are etched into LoCrasto’s memory. So it shouldn’t be surprising that in his mind, there will always be a fantasyland with wicker furniture, pristine beaches, swaying palm trees, the smell of vanilla-scented suntan lotion, cerulean blue skies and clean, aqua blue water.

The Dallas-born, Brooklyn-based composer has released four solo albums, recorded music for three feature length plums and has songs appear in 2014’s Obvious Child and the HBO series How to With John Wilson. Additionally, LoCrasto has toured and recorded with Cass McCombs, Grateful Shred, Pat Martino, Jeremy Pelt, James Iha, Parquet Courts, Fruit Bats, Nicholas Payton, Greg Osby, Okkervil River, and Wallace Roney

As the leader of tropical, jazz-fusion outfit Kolumbo, LoCrasto creates dreamy musical locales seemingly inspired by his fond memories and his imagination. Kolumbo’s full-length debut Gung-Ho is slated for a June 29, 2022 release through the Allah-Las‘ label, Calico Discos. The eight-song album reportedly conjures the lush sounds of symphony 1950s and 1960s exotica and jazz-pop orchestral albums recorded in Capitol Records‘ studios. The album’s title speaks to the herculean task of producing an album with songs averaging 11 musicians per track during a pandemic.

Gung-Ho‘s first single, the trippy and strutting “Imperial Bikers MC” is a centered around a staggered and arpeggiated Rhodes, squiggling guitars, spacey synth bursts, tropical percussion, a soulful flute line paired with a sumptuous and funky groove. While evoking memories of lazy, summer days at the beach with a cold beer, sonically the track reminds me of L’Eclair and Mildlife, who also specialize in a similar brand of funk, rooted in mind-bending grooves.

The song is a loving homage to the Imperial Bikers MC motorcycle club, who have proudly called Crown Heights home for the past 40+ years. “About 15 years ago I used to work at a scooter repair shop in Brooklyn and also rode motorcycles around the city. As a result, I befriended many bikers and fell in love with the culture,” LoCrasto explains. “Probably the best celebration of riding I came across is the annual bike blessing, a rally hosted by Imperial Bikers MC, an African American motorcycle club located in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. There’s hundreds of bikers from all over the tri state area that get together to show off their bikes and wish one another a safe season. The song is an homage to them and their community service for the past 40+ years.”

The accompanying video by Robin Macmillan begins with features footage of the Imperial Bikers MC motorcycle club riding their bikes and quickly turns into a trippy affair: we see a sunglasses and track suit-clad LoCrasto playing a Roland piano and grooving over 70s and 80s styled computer-generated graphics and through the visual representation of a ‘shroom trip.