Monday, September 30, 2013

Kneebody - The Line (Concord, 2013)

Kneebody is an interesting band that skirts the borders of jazz and indie rock, somewhat akin to the Chicago band Tortoise. The band consists of Adam Benjamin on keyboards, Shane Endsley on trumpet, Kaveh Rastegar on bass, Ben Wendel on tenor saxophone and Nate Wood drums. The music is textured and finely nuanced, like on "Trite" which makes a good impression with buzzing fender rhodes piano and bubbling bass and drums providing ample support for the horns. Endsley and Wendel harmonize together and then leave the field for a potent fusion-esque keyboard, bass and drums section. The group is very tight and works well together, putting egos to the side in service to the greater whole. A circular pattern of music opens "Still Play" developing a jaunty uptempo feel. Benjamin drives waves of electronics forward as both horn players take brief solos. "The Line" opens with a rockish shimmering sound that the horns build, to a grinding propulsion. The sound can be thick and punishing at times, but also shifts dynamically to a more open section about 2/3 of the way through, before building back up to end with a flourish. "Work Hard, Play Hard, Towel Hard" opens with strong trumpet and drums with Endsley playing with muscular vigor. There is a saxophone solo over funky bass which moves the song in a different direction, and leads to return to the original melody. "Ready Set Go" ends the album in potent fashion with the full band developing a thick musical sludge oozing outward, and gaining pace with a deep rhythmic tenacity. This album as a whole works quite well, developing a unique sound that is easily recognizable. This would make a fine gateway for indie rock fans to jazz, and their sound should be appealing to a wide audience. The Line -

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