Coming In September!
Go Big Or Go Home from The Urban Renewal Project puts the paddles to big band music with the end result as possibly one of the most exciting hybrid releases to come along in some time! Take traditional big band with a fat and tasty horn section then fuse in some funk, pop and may god have mercy on my musical soul - some hip hop and you have a band that is tight and a groove you can use!
As a closet musical purist I tend to run the other way when hip hop makes an appearance on any jazz oriented release, the translation is usually incomplete with the end result as musical stripped gears on my sonic transmission but...not here! Rap lyrics by Logic The Topic, seven well penned originals by bandleader R.W. Enoch and two covers from The Pixies and Gorillaz fast forward a stale and well worn genre back to the new millennium with a flash fried funk that transcends genre boundaries and raises the bar for a great many ensembles that are merely pretenders when they attempt a release even close. The Urban Renewal Project is indeed the real deal!
Vocalist Kenny Neely and poet in residence Logic the Topic kick the party off with a blistering yet deceptively cool "Night Gig." Spot on vocals with an infectious hip hop flavor backed by a band that is tighter than tight is indeed a righteous groove. This is a contemporary swing band that plays music you hear with your hips and feel with your feet. "Party Time" with a rock steady beat articulated with that fat horn sounds laid under Neely and Logic the Topic has some potential cross over possibilities if commercial radio can lighten up what is left of the same cast of characters dominating the jazz air waves. "Don't Let It End" fuses big band horns with a reggae back beat and Lemar Guillary on trombone for an infectious closer to what could easily be a sleeper for a great many fans as it reaches across the aisle and should appeal to a wide ranging audience.
The best part of Go Big Or Go Home? No synthesizers were harmed during the recording of this release! One band, all in the same room with minimal editing for a warm all most analog sound that is letting their brand of old school quickly become new cool.
Love it! 5 Stars
Tracks: Night Gig; Transamerican; Rooftops & Parking Lots; Where Is My Mind?; Metro Girl; Party Time; Feel Good, Inc.; What I Do; Don't Let It End.
Personnel: Kenny Neely: vocals; Brian Clements: soprano sax, flute; Alex Meyers: alto sax, piccolo, flute, alto flute; R.W. Enoch Jr.; tenor sax, flute; Matt Ballard: baritone sax; Max O'Leary: trumpet; Elliot Deutsch: trumpet, flugelhorn (soloist); Jeff Collins: trumpet (1,2,3,4,9); Vinny Dawson: trumpet (5,6,7,8); Ryan Dragon: trombone; Lemar Guillary: trombone (soloist); Michael King: bass trombone; Michael McFadden: electric bass; Scott Spongberg: drum set, percussion, Elmer Demond "Logic The Topic" Logan appears via Oso Vivid Records.
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Special Thanks to Jim at Jazz Promo Services.