By: Hannah Frank
Instrumental releases are rare and this Southside four-piece adeptly taps into a harmonic lexicon shared with jazz, while offering a fresh collage of influences that center around groove while pinwheeling out from it in a controlled prism effect. From Brazilian-influenced ballads to taking chord changes from a Daft Punk song and turning them on their head, the inventive band is tempered with self discipline. The result is mysteriously evocative, hard hitting music that takes you everywhere you want to go.
Inspired by the infinite possibility of music, all the ways audiences can enjoy it, as well as specific musical problems such as the movement of the dominant 7 chord, Matt Hudson (Guitar) has explored adding vocals but finally determined that words forge the song into a finite shape. “The words close me in. I’d rather eliminate the words and project whatever emotion I need to in the song [musically].”
The songs are a tightly woven trapeze act amongst the players, who clearly all trust each other’s musical instincts. “Our band has always been willing to have overdriven tones, a bold rhythmic drive, and a dedication to true improvisation,” says Hudson.
See Scientific Map live at The Tonic Room on Saturday January 20, 2018. Tickets for Tonic Room on 1/20/18:
Anthony Reid (Drums), Will Baggett (Bass), lead the bold rhythmic drive, while Dave Holloway (Piano) adds unique chord voicing and a very precise approach to Hudson’s compositions.
The ability to place meaning into music itself, rather than in lyrics, is no small feat and Hudson admits many musicians would rather spend time composing, rehearsing and on intellectual pursuits than on social media. Hudson gives props to artists such as Duke Elllington (“He modernized jazz in leaps, gigantic leaps and made an indelible impact on modern music”) and current giants like John Scofield and multimedia artist Jason Moran.
With no words in the music, it reinforces the importance of open expression. Today’s times are defined by a political circus verging on oppressive control of truth, meaning and communication. (Hudson daftly describes current times as people enduring the rule of an illiterate pervert). In this way, the expression available only through music is especially vital and important — and perhaps part of what inspired the mean accuracy of instrumental expression found in bop and other jazz forms that often stayed just on the orbit of mass appeal. The album Nothing For Granted, bathed in music technique that never is an end unto itself but always serves exploration, is an enchanting relief from talking heads.
In the online jungle, if you see a black cover with a football player sitting on a giraffe– pick up the map. It will take your ears and mind into new territory.
Listen to Nothing For Granted (and see the giraffee album art too):
Tickets for Tonic Room on 1/20/18:
Biography: Unique grooves of the jazz idiom. Combines the jazzman’s craft with the compositional freedom of the 21st century. Soulful instrumentals abound.