Jazz Sensibilities

Since 2008, a place to discover new jazz and beyond releases on the rise. New WEBSITE and New Contributors Adding. Stay Tuned. Until then, enjoy the blog, but check back often.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Beat Funktion, Mandy's Secret

by Jeff Becker

I am on a bit of Swedish tear it seems, with two reviews in one week from Swedish groups, entirely different from each other, yet uniquely on a chosen path.  Beat Funktion has transcended the confines of the region and burst onto the North American scene with vigor and resolve to dominate the funk/jazz scene.  Spending a collective of 52 weeks on the jazz charts with 3 releases in 2 years: Moon Town, Voodooland and Mandy's Secret, is certainly nothing to take lightly or shake as stick at.  So let's get down to the music.  It's pure, its retro, at times cinematic, it offers a refreshingly danceable quality not found in a lot of jazz overall, this could be what some call the magic to the recipe, except we cannot discount the musicianship is top-notch and the writing is superb, which to me is the unique and secret ingredient.

Overall, the music is instrumental with big production values, and soaring horn lines that offer complex rhythms and well-conceived writing ideas.  It is easy going, but deceivingly complex and rich in nature. Highlight cuts for me are: "I Am Summer," "Snap To It, " "On The Tiles," and "Rundfunk."

Each cut seemingly was a journey onto itself.  The title cut "Mandy's Secret" has the most filmic vibe of the outing, with a female voice narrating the storyline.  The companion "official video" offered up on youtube, drew me into the intrigue quite nicely.

This is a win folks, don't delay - pick up a copy today via iTunes, skip the designer coffee and support this group on the rise.

GuitCussion - Blue Congo

by Jeff Becker

Best described as fusion or maybe free jazz, with heavy metal propensities prowling in the background, that present themselves in quick running lines that delve into the shred zone.

Swedish group GuitCussion offers an intriguing sound. Consisting of two guitarists and two drummers, the group states it is their goal to create a powerful form of free music in a non-idiomatic fashion. GuitCussion creates interesting atmospheres and textures on Blue Congo, and can bring the fire when needed.
Blue Congo is trove of riches, with over 70 minutes of music, there is so much for the listener to indulge themselves with. A successful outing with many highlights to offer.

Personnel: Henrik Wartel - Drums; Stefan Thorpenberg - Electric Guitars;  Per Anders Skytt - Drums; Gunnar Backman - Fretless and Fretted 25 string Virtual Guitar, Live Loops.