Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Adam Douglass Trio ~ Seersucker


(Click on heading to visit official website.)
Style: jazz fusion, funk, jazz-rock
Label: self-released
Year: 2006
Home: Boston, Massachusetts

Members: Adam Douglass ~ guitar
Mark Snyder ~ bass
Dave Fox ~ drums

Additional: Mike Casano, Matt Alger ~ drums

Jazz fusion isn't really under my umbrella for these reviews so when I first had this band passed to me I figured it was a misplaced recomendation, which sometimes happens though well intended, but it was I who was mistaken with a pleasant surprise. I've always had a hit or miss relationship with the jazz-rock genre, usually getting swayed when the rock is emphasized over the jazz, even though I listened to jazz & blues almost exclusively though much of high school 15 years ago. Guitarist Jeff Beck is a good example of someone I like whose bridged the gap successfully. Though, the Mahavishnu Orchestra has rocked harder than many rockers but still has clearly been a jazz band & one I love. I have a lot of respect for musicians who are trying to bridge both worlds, I'll confess. I just don't always find the results pleasing, but that's really no refection of the music. That being said, Adam Douglass & co. also know the difficulties in bridging both worlds & reaching out to people like me yet not alienating my distant jazzer cousins. If they converted to being metalheads we'd welcome them into the community with open arms. But, until that time musicians like Douglass are making some interesting music trying to bring us together without anyone converting faiths. In some ways some of their music reminds me of pre-Experience Hendrix with a funky rhythm & distorted guitar running soulful yet dynamic lines over the bed of music. "Jug Dancer" & "Quesa Dilla" are a perfect examples with an almost atmospheric guitar over a bluesy funk rhythm that could be mislabeled as one of Jeff Beck's more soulful endeavors - a style of playing not enough guitarists are following these days. With a handful of the ten tracks clocking in over 5 minutes the songs don't rush anything, even when given over to blistering rock solos, but neither are they directionless jams. Themes are well developed & yet there's obviously room for the band to let loose in concert, as the jazz style drum solo in "Jug Dancer" so perfectly demonstrates. Adam Douglass stirs up a mix of rock & jazz with a bit of funk to make something that never goes to any extreme. You can dance to it. You can rock out at times. There's no lyrics to distract from the music. Or you can take the intellectual approach & dig into the array of scales the band is employing & appreciate their musical dexterity. Though, the one problem I had with the trio is that they have found a particular sound. There's nothing wrong with it but outside of some guitar solos it often lacks some tonal dynamics, so after a bit some of tracks bleed into each other with similiar identities. Though, the hard rocking title track "Seersucker" & also "Peeper", which I'd love to swear I've heard Jeff Beck cover its so hot, are strong exceptions. But, this is a small quibble I have with them, really, particularly given that Seersucker is their debut. &, I'll confess, it might just as much reflect my tastes as jazz bands aren't exactly following the same path of rock musicians that are always trying to expand the tonal pallette with every song because otherwise we'd see how boring and repetitive their chord progressions really are.


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