One of the most engaging and creative crossover releases in contemporary jazz this year. The 25th Street band are the real deal!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Contemporary jazz continues to struggle while looking for an identity. Fusion is making a quiet almost business like return after considerable time in the jazz witness protection program. Even smooth jazz is undergoing a transformation thanks to an infusion of new and vibrant textures. British acid jazz in the hands of a band with mad skills ties the whole package up with a pretty bow!
Welcome 25th Street Band and Dawn of My Career!
While the names may escape you, their musical resume includes working with such stellar talent as Chick Corea, Robben Ford, and George Michael. A jazz collective of sorts with members drawn from the United States, Canada and Europe and embracing a cutting edge lyrical path that puts the paddles to an abstract genre that with the exception of only a handful of artists has been stuck in neutral for some time. What works is that there is not another band that has crashed the mainstream commercial market with a completely unique hybrid such as 25th Street Band. The harmonic color pallet comes from smooth jazz, fusion, and a funk reminiscent of the British Acid jazz scene yet their is a smoldering soulful quality lurking just below the surface.
From a walk on the smooth side of the contemporary street there is "Skywalk" while the funk nasty groove of "Beat" is indeed a groove you can use. There is an ambient flair to "Cold Star Journey" that is spacious, soulful and straight-ahead while the band never loses their lyrical sense of purposes as they move through each tune. While moving through a somewhat expansive selection of tunes might seem to be a band in search of an identity, it is the first rate production that would have Dawn of My Career standing toe to toe with bands like Down To The Bone, The Rippingtons or perhaps Pieces of A Dream. The band members are solid, the tunes are well developed. This is what happens when all the stars are in perfect alignment.
When it comes to contemporary jazz, I just had my faith restored. Nothing to grind on here.
Tracks: Skyway; Golden Moments; GrandCentral; Timo; Beat; Dawn Of My Career; Jazzira; Cold Star Journey; Hugo's There.
Personnel: Drums: Tom Brechtlein; Flute: Bill McBirnie; Saxophone: Bass: Husain Jiffrey; Mornington Lockett; Vocals: Ann Bailey and Ollie James; Russ Klinger and Dave Radnor: Writers, Arrangers, Keyboards, Guitars, Engineering and Production.