Evolutionary Baptist Brown

Thanks for the positive comments on the Steve Reid post. I enjoy turning people on to creative and interesting music that they might not have been exposed to yet. That's the whole reason that I keep this blog up and running. I know that I haven't exactly been a prolific poster, but I hope to post more frequently in the future.

First, I want to expose your ears to the euphoric sounds of the ethno-spiritual free jazz sextet, the Evolutionary Jass Band. Evolutionary Jass Band's founding members Jef Brown and Michael Henrickson(formerly of the Portland avant garde collective JOMF) started the Evolutionary Jass Band around 2001 with the idea of creating spontaneous music with heart and soul. They were originally named the Steele Street Revolutionary Jass Band, but Jef felt that the band should be more about change and evolving. With a similar open-door membership policy to JOMF, their band members have included many of the talented multi-instrumentalists that have been emerging recently in the Portland jazz and underground music scene.

With fiery outbursts of pure cacophony that recall Albert Ayler, snake charming Ethiopiques style slow burners and 1930's New Orleans marching band songs, the Evolutionary Jass Band prove to be an eclectic collective of genre-defying musicians. They are set to release two new records this year. What's Lost is going to be released on Mississippi Records sometime this summer. Unfortunately I haven't heard the album yet, but it is supposed to have more of an Eastern European folk sound to it with jazz inflections. This Is What Is Happening Today is the highly anticipated follow-up that will be released on the Community Library label.

Here is a quick overview of Change of Scene:

Aunt Dot- midtempo melancholic funeral march with echoes of Ayler and Mingus

Change of Scene- trance inducing tribal drumming segueways into smoky sax that could have been taken from a 30's film noir classic which ultimately explodes into a cacaphonous saxophone solo that recalls Ornette Coleman at his most "harmelodic"

Philly's Frindge- Country Western swing combine with spiritual afro-centric free jazz for a rollicking Tin Pan Alley vibe

Mercury- flurries of snake charming soprano sax that recall Mulatu Estatke's 60's Ethiopiques sessions in this mesmerizing midtempo number

Devotion-tribal drumming, sitars and a dynamic bassline add to the complexities of this barnstormer of a track featuring stunning musicianship and intense dynamics. It sends chills up and down your spine and makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up.

Evolutionary Jass Band- Change of Scene and Devotion
Change of Scene [Community Library, 2006]

Baptist Arms are a duo from Portland, Oregon who possess an innate ability of capturing the essence of sadness and despair with razor sharp accuracy. The two vocalists are extreme opposites in both timbre and pitch, but the majestic harmonies created by these disparate voices is astonishing. Alicia plays piano and sings with a booming baritone that is refreshingly unexpected from such a tiny frame. Ana mainly plays violin and sings, but she might just break out the acoustic for a cover of Terry Allen's "Dogwood" or an old country song.

Ana and Alicia's strikingly beautiful harmonies stir the emotions in your soul and chill your bones. Alicia's vocals bare a subtle resemblance to Nick Cave, but this only scratches the surface of the complexities of her phrasing. Ana has a beautiful and breathtaking voice that seems both fragile and beyond her years.

Burning desires and unrequited love are common themes to their songs, but their is also a feeling of hope and faith peering through the doors of their mind. A feeling that somehow, no matter how difficult life gets, we will ultimately survive and move on.

I am featuring the songs that can also be found on their Myspace page, because they don't have a record out yet. If you live in Portland, please do yourself a favor and check out the Evolutionary Jass Band record release show at the Artistery featuring Baptist Arms as the opening act. The show starts at 9:00 PM and will definitely be an exciting night of eclectic music.


highlowbrow said…
So... what day is the record release show?
V-ski... a new fan said…
Thanks for the great recommendation. The music of Baptist Arms was deliciously cinematic, and Artistery was a good venue for their sound.
Looking forward to the next show.

Overall, the entire show was very stimulating. There was a third band, Red Herring, which turned out to be the opening band. Each group has a very distinctive personality. The resulting effect for me was one of feeling that I had seen three different shows, not just three different bands.

Thanks again for the info...
Kevin said…
Highlowbrow: I just realized that I didnt put the date of the show. It was this past Saturday at the Artistery. Sorry about that. Hopefully you can catch them another time. During this show, they just played the new album in its entirety. It was a great show, but very dirge like and downbeat. Most of the time their shows are very lively and fun, so I anticipate that the next time will be more like that.


Thanks for the comment. I'm glad that you enjoyed the show and were turned on to some new music. I especially liked your phrase "deliciously cinematic".

Take care, Kevin

Capt EviL 1 said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Capt EviL 1 said…
You have a great blog, thanks! Any chance of a re-up of the Evolutionary Jass Band ones? Thanks.
Kevin said…
Capt Evil 1: I would be happy to re-up the tracks from Evolutionary Jass Band. I can't guarantee when, but it will be soon.

I have some other rare CD-R's that I picked up at one of their recent shows at the Holocene in Portland. So, you can look forward to some of that stuff surfacing here in the near future.

Thanks for stopping by!

Best, Kevin
Capt EviL 1 said…
No hurry at all...thanks for the response!

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