Bill Laurance is the natural evolution of contemporary instrumental music. Flawless.
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Some of you know Bill Laurance as the pianist / keyboard player for the Grammy winning band Snarky Puppy. Others may be late to the Snarky Puppy party but are hip to Bill Laurance now as word of mouth means everything in music. I've pronounced the time of death for smooth jazz and not because the music is bad but simply because it stopped showing any reasonable signs of artistic life. A more soulful and soul filled contemporary instrumental music is on the rise along with fusion hybrids that in the right hands are reshaping the sound of improvisational music, Bill Laurance and Flint are indeed the right hands.
The evocative art is a visual depiction of what is to come when taking Flint for a lyrical test drive. An ethereal if not ambient quality seems to give way to a rhythmic heartbeat anchored in the groove of the moment but with a modern melodic sense of urgency. Flint is not genre specific but perhaps "genre adjacent" as the harmonic base line moves effortlessly from nuanced textures of a three dimensional sound to vivid colors one can hear. Urban grooves, post modern strings, and straight ahead improvisation become one meticulously constructed voice. Normally a critic takes a look at two or three tracks and attempts to construct something in a literary fashion that reflects the sound or experience they had while listening. I've included three videos from You Tube. Review the release yourself and I hope you will agree this is a release not to pass on!
Flint is a release that will drive some critics nuts. Slapping an arbitrary genre tag on Flint simply doesn't work as each of the compositions have a unique organic pulse that defies traditional critical analysis. In short, there are only so many ways you can describe the blatantly obvious. This is music. This is very good music!
Bill Laurance – acoustic piano, Fender Rhodes, vocoder, keyboards, shaker, congas, ride cymbal, propane tank, hand claps; Michael League – electric bass, double bass, Moog bass, 12-string acoustic guitar, electric guitar, hand claps; Robert “Sput” Searight – drum set, timpani, marching snare & bass drums, shekere, cowbells, vibraslap, woodblocks, shaker, hand claps; Maria Im – violin; Zach Brock – violin (solos); Curtis Stewart – violin; Henry Flory – violin; Lev Zhurbin – viola; Eylem Basaldi – viola; Maria Jeffers – cello; J.Y. Lee – cello; Mike “Maz” Maher – trumpet & flugelhorn
Matt McLaughlin – French horn ; Chris Bullock – tenor saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet, & flute
Brian Donohoe – alto saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet, & flute; Scott Flynn – trombone; Magda Giannikou – propane tank, glockenspiel, & xylophone; Emilia Canas Mendes & Andy LaViolette – hand claps