After reading the NPR story "DIY Touring With a Zombie Jazz Band" I became intrigued with that zombie band, The Father Figures, and downloaded their album. Listening to their music, it's understandable how they would have a chance catching the ear of the indie rock listening public (and the progressive jazz crowd as well.) The band consists of Ian Chang, Jas Walton, Adam Schatz, Ross Edwards, Spencer Zahn and they take a bit of a kitchen sink approach on this ablum, throwing around a lot of different ideas, liberally sprinkling their own improvisatory nature with bits of jazz, electronic and pop music and developing a theme of longer 4-8 minute performances broken up with short vignettes. The short pieces like "Old Folks Home Improvement" and "Here Comes Everybody" hit hard and fast and resemble something of the jazz-punk aesthetic of John Zorn or Weasel Walter, with waling saxophone and pounding drums. The sub three minute "Metal Melt on Rye" is a blast of hot fast paced saxophone and drums with electric piano accents, sounding wry, raunchy and fun. Longer performances allow them to develop their improvisational chops, with twin saxophones swirling and trading phrases on the likes of the episodic "Patty's Cats" that shifts from open improvisation to spacey sci-fi electronics. Funky rhythm enlivens "You're Not My Real Dad" with strong bass and saxophone adding to the mix. Saxophones and percussion push the music into deeper territory. This is definitely a band to keep your eye on, they have a lot of fun with the music they are making and are not afraid of taking risks like going on the road and creating genre collages. Their all inclusive approach may turn off some more traditionally oriented jazz fans, but the band has an interesting sound that they are honing and defining and the music seems rife with possibility. Father Figures - amazon.com
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Luther Thomas - In Denmark (ILK, 2014) *****
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