Michael D'Agostino

Drummer, vocalist and Songwriter

Reviews

First release  INNERrOUTe  Reviews:
 
 
INNERrOUTe
 
 
recordonline.
 
 
Despite what you may believe, structure plays a major role in jazz. Main melodies, departures, solos — these are timed inside the mind of the player. Even freeform jazz has structure. Heck, players need to know when to play, and when not to play, and what to play from, and so on.

Where there isn’t structure is deep inside the individual, where notes and chords can jump and swerve, where ideas can germinate and seize the moment, if only for the moment. Still, even then, the individual’s mind must be tethered, for there is a melody, and you have to get back there.
INNERrOUTe, a quartet of local musicians, has found a way around this. Sure, other musicians have played complete freeform jazz, space without boundaries, clear thought without the festering of facts. But INNERrOUTe is one the few that has added soothing texture without pretension. This comes in the group’s self-titled debut, a seven-song player of deep moods, wandering rhythms and stretched ideas.
“The Soul of Love,” an eight-minute exploration in the middle of “INNERrOUTe,” is a defining example of the group’s patient penchant for big ideas. Percussionist Michael D’Agostino creates a sonic wonderland from his kit, while keyboardist Joe Vincent Tranchina lays out a repetitive mediation bound to stick. And as Bill McCrossen adds depth with a double upright bass, Rick Savage’s trumpet searches in solitude, a desert visitor seeking life. Cymbals crash as they crawl to the loner — you can feel the weight of the world, but it’s never jagged. It’s the work of four veteran professionals understanding the pace of things, both in the freeform space and in the aesthetic environments they’ve created.
Another highlight is “Runners Can’t Hide,” which plays as a chase scene above McCrossen’s breathy lines and D’Agostino’s pulsating rhythms, not unlike Stewart Copeland. In fact, at times “INNERrOUTe” is the freeform album the Police were uncovering with “Ghost in the Machine.” That’s heard most prominently in the closing quickie “Ear Pressure,” which benefits from Tranchina’s maddening keyboard riff.
Yes, there’s straight-ahead jazz elements in “INNERrOUTe,” but you have to catch them. The climactic track “Inner Out” serves as a solid example, but passages grow from others, and ruminations turn so quickly that no idea hangs out for too long. For a group of four talented musicians, this is an advantage. There’s a wondrous element of exploration to everything here, and it’s because four very individual musicians found a way to work with one another, and yet completely within themselves, all at the same time. “INNERrOUTe” is an intriguing voyage in the mind of the frantic jazz assembly line. —  Tim Malcolm, NY Times Herald Record
– See more at: http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120210/LIFE/202100326#sthash.6WfbR0kH.dpuf

 

Downtown Music Gallery Header

With Rick Savagte on tumpet, Joe Vincent Tranchina on keyboards, Bill McCrossen on double bass and Michael D’Agostino on drums. Terri Chapin, Thomas Chapin’s wife, has been maintaining Thomas’ great website adn keeping his spirit alive. She often hears from young musicians who have discovered Thomas and are perhaps influenced by Thomas’s muisc and/or playing. Terri heard this quartet and had Rick Savage send us a copy of their impressive disc. Considering I don’t recognize the names of any of the musicians on this disc. it is astonishingly good. The first piece is called “Sanctuary” and it sounds quite a bit like late-sixties Mies circa “In a Silent Way” with mysterious trumpet, floating electric piano, suspense-filled acoustic bass and wonderful Tony Williams-like spinning waves drums. This music seems organic and seems to deal more with mood and interaction. While the electic piano creates cerebral, simmering groove locking in the rhythm team, the trumpet takes a long and winding solo, riding on the wabves below. Each section or solo evolves out of whatever interaction was happening previously. Occasionally a fragment of a melody (“When Johnny Comes Marching Home”) will float by before the quartete changes direction. The quartet create a mesmorizign glow on “The Soul of Love”, with som slow ,overlapping layers of notes , perfectly balanced between all four musicians. What makes this session so special is the way these guys work together always listening and building on whatever line appears to be pushing the directions at that point. 48 minutes long and unrelentingly mind-blowing throughout!- Bruce Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery, NYC

 

HudsonValleyJazz

 

If you’re hoping to read the usual CD review, it’s not happening.  What is happening is live improvisational music.  And it’s being performed by INNERrOUTe.  Rather then discuss the tunes, the details of what happens, I’d like to respect what strikes me most about the CD. Artistic courage. Living in the moment and capturing a recording of it is one thing.  Having the artistic courage to release it is another.  Michael D’Agostino, drums, Bill McCrossen, bass, Rick Savage, trumpet and Joe Vincent Tranchina, keyboards took a collective leap of faith.   Who does that these days? I’ve listened to this, not as a musician who has worked with these wonderful musicians, but as curious listener.  And not with the “for musicians ears only” perspective.   This music is accessible. The magic, which happens in the improvisational moment, is self-evident.   It’s not about the academic analysis.  The listener is drawn in.  It’s your own valid experience.   You don’t need a guidebook, or musician to get inside this. I recommend getting this CD. Why? Maybe it’ll remind you of Miles, or Weather Report or Sun Ra or Anthony Braxton.   Maybe for you, it’s a film score, and ambient vibe or a completely different take.   Good.   There is no singular definition or high ground subjective description.   Yours is as valid as the next.
INNERrOUTe is none of the above, it’s fresh because it happened in the moment.  Fortunately for them and now us, they recorded it!
As musicians define their own identity and signature to their playing, it’s a customized brew of their preferences and influences.   If you hear Bitches Brew or any of the aforementioned, it’s not a function of an intended choice.  I for one am glad to hear a little bit of this.  At a time when the preservation of jazz in the mainstream revisits early bop and straight ahead, I love that this CD takes me to the ’70’s mind set.  Good for them, that was happening music. This is wonderful stuff and rather then color your opinion by reviewing each track, I think the spirit of the music and it’s genuine intent is to experience it as it was created.  Without preconception. In the present.
So, do yourself a favor and disregard the little bit of interpretation I’ve given and trust your own.  You’ll not be disappointed. – Steve Rubin is the producer of the Warwick Valley Jazz Festival
To purchase CD, visit CD Baby at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/innerroute1 or itunes at
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/innerroute/id495815034

 

Sugar Loaf Performing Arts Center

 

“INNERrOUTe – Live at The Sugar Loaf Performing Arts Center-September 9, 2012 New York’s Hudson Valley continues as fertile ground for jazz and beyond. Just weeks after a successful Hudson Valley Jazz Festival, the area was treated to a CD release live performance by INNERrOUTe. With Michael D’Agostino, drums, percussion, Bill McCrossen, basses, Rick Savage, trumpet, flugelhorn, percussion and Joe Vincent Tranchina, piano, keyboards. This group took me back to an early Weather Report , you know the one with Miroslav Vitous on bass and Eric Gravatt on drums. When you’d get the classic improvisation that made you wonder if it was a tune,  if  that was the “head” or a mix. When they introduced the Rick Savage composition, “Slow Drunk Head”, it took me back to that fresh, daring ensemble playing that is born of a band relationship. Make no mistake, this is a band, and you hear it . It’s a great mix of sound, groove, individual and group material.
Steve Rubin – HudsonValleyJazz Fest.com

 

2nd release:INNERrOUTe | FORMATION Reviews

 

FOURMATION cover

 

Highlands
Highlands Magazine (France) Highlands 76 (December 2015)
Fourmation [sic] [INNERrOUTe] is an American Jazz-Rock “formation” that originated from New York and is now based in New Jersey.
Lead by drummer/percussionist Michael D’Agostino, the quartet includes trumpeter Rick Savage, keyboardist Joe Vincent Tranchina and bassist Bill McCrossen – who plays both acoustic and fretless electric bass. [INNERrOUTe’s] Fourmation’s [sic] album comprises 12 original compositions.The first track, entitled Consensual Motion, reaches its climactic point at 10’08.
From the very first note, the listener is transported to the world of Miles Davis’ In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew – notably sequences of irresistible Fender Rhodes grooves, with mellow, velvety, freely executed trumpet flourishes, taking us back to the music of the “grand” Miles. The recording abounds with outstanding percussion and even if Michael D’Agostinio’s playing on drums is sharp and precise, he keeps changing tempos with amazing ease, and is consistently impressive.
First Prayer, a particularly thrilling piece, starts with Fender Rhodes’ motifs that charms the listener little by little, and follows with trumpeter Rick Savage’s voluptuous sound taking us to some unknown mysterious place.
The Roadless Travelled features the percussion along with murmuring cymbals’, fret- less bass detours, and accompanied by soft and free trumpet lines spiraling into another dimension.
Wether it is the creative, grooving leading Fender Rhodes, the free spirited trumpet silvery timbre and dreamy tone, the numerous flawless fretless bass exciting moments, or the spicy fiery percussion, this album is exciting from beginning to end. If you are into Jazz and adventurous music this wondrous, inspired, and powerful recording will fill you with pure joy.

Didier Gonzalez(English Translation by Sedric Choukroun)

 

AudioFile Audition

Audiophile Audition (December 18, 2015)
A spontaneous night’s music mustered with collective communication.
INNERrOUTe – Fourmation [TrackList follows] – Planet Arts PA301554, 68:27 [10/15/15]
(Michael D’Agostino – drums, percussion, recording, mixing, mastering; Rick Savage – trumpet, Flugelhorn; Joe Vincent Tranchina – keyboard; Bill McCrossen – acoustic and electric fretless bass) Fully improvised jazz can appear too chaotic and unstructured to the uninitiated. But the best musicians can find a way around seemingly obstructive limitations, and offer a sense of organization, harmonic development, even melody. That’s what the East Coast quartet christened INNERrOUTe has accomplished. As the group name implies, the foursome combine inner spirit with outbound collective communication. This 68-minute, 12-track outing is the outcome of a studio evening in early 2011 when the four INNERrOUTe members got together with no prior discussion, no rehearsal, no overdubbing, and commenced to do some creative performing and, most important, active listening. The instigator of this project is drummer Michael D’Agostino, who recruited likeminded players Rick Savage (trumpet, flugelhorn); bassist Bill McCrossen (on acoustic and electric fretless bass); and keyboardist Joe Vincent Tranchina. The result is the second INNERrOUTe record, Fourmation.
The ten-minute opener, “Consensual Motion,” has moments of complete freedom, where arco bass and plucked bass lines collide against colorful keyboards, and diverse rhythms juxtapose against trumpet. And yet, there is a perceptible groove, albeit one with a quickly changing attitude. There are also straight-ahead jazz components which listeners can relate with, although the quartet never stays put in a particular place for too long. There’s a broadening of the band’s spontaneity during the eclectically-charged “Home and Deranged,” where it’s obvious the musicians allow the music to progress in a natural way, often sitting out and experiencing what the others are doing, and then responding, opening doors for further inventiveness. This isn’t a case of disarray, although there is no guiding melody or lyrical center. INNERrOUTe is capable of fast movements, but also can provide instances where beauty and delicacy slide forward, such as during the ethereal, concise “First Prayer,” where Savage’s echo-laden trumpet glides above D’Agostino’s glittering percussion, and McCrossen supplies supple single-note bass lines. Another cut which has a similar, slow sensibility is the appropriately-designated “Grace,” which traverses with an intermittent equilibrium, with underlying tension roiling but never enveloping the music. Funk rises to the foreground on another brief piece, the mythology-marked “Morpheus Awakens,” based on the ancient Greek god of dreams. Tranchina is spotlighted on this tune, while the drums and bass have a fitful conversation. There’s a fusion feel which rides below the start of the title track, due to Tranchina’s electric keyboards, although that doesn’t hold for long, as INNERrOUTe heads into uncharted territory, never remaining in one specific direction, with ideas building up, settling, and rising again. The theme of proceeding into atypical pathways can also be heard on the aptly-titled, pun- derived “The Roadless Traveled.” Here, again, INNERrOUTe’s mutual, unconstrained
interaction is the focus, with Savage’s trumpet front and center, Tranchina’s keyboards bubbling beneath, and the rhythm section furnishing a restless rhythm. Like some of the other numbers, this one fades out before it can achieve a definitive finish. The ensemble’s wit and humor lace through the concluding snippet, “innerrOUTeTAKE: Where’s One?,” which runs just under two minutes. There is something to be said about doing head/chorus/head jazz arrangements. But for those who embrace the never-to- be-repeated avenues of exploration, and are inclined toward in-the-moment inspiration, then INNERrOUTe is a band to find and appreciate.
TrackList: Consensual Motion; First Prayer; The Roadless Traveled; Morpheus Awakens; Slippery Slope; Sacred Eclipse; Home and Deranged; The Asking; Realms; Fourmation; Grace; innerrOUTeTAKE: Where’s One?.
★★★★ Doug Simpson http://www.audaud.com/innerroute-fourmation-tracklist-follows-planet-arts/
*****

Chronogram

 

INNERrOUTe  FOURMATION (2015 Planet Arts)

With case play on top of multiple puns, the quartet INNERrOUTe doesn’t make it easy to type its name or to interpret it, but one could say that, given the group’s native genre….improvisational jazz…. difficulty is part of the bargain on every level.  On Fourmation, the quartet of trumpet, electric piano, drums and bass sets out to capture one evening of improvisations, and the results are scintillating, due as much to the excellent recording quality as to the heightened, empathic playing of this very capable and egoless ensemble. The reverberant mix rounds the top end of Rick Savage’s, often effected trumpet and flugelhorn tone in the most pleasant way and situates the rhythm section of Michael D’Agostino (drums) and Bill McCrossen (bass) in a warm and natural space. The complex, phasey timbre of Joe Vincent Tranchina’s electric piano swirls through the space between voices like a sonic glue.  Like so much free jazz, this stuff originates with Miles circa Bitches Brew and In a Silent Way, free and untimed conversations morph into near funk and back again on the opening track “Consensual Motion.” But on the lovely “Sacred Eclipse” and on many other tracks, INNErrOUTe reveals itself to be a band more interested moments of warm euphony that in contentious squawk. The music -as-spiritual practice liner notes are borne out in the quite accessible and enjoyable sounds. Planetarts.org    John Burdick  issuu.com/chronogram/docs/chronogram-february-2016/57

 

 

AXS review 2

INNERrOUTe FOURMATION(2015 Planet Arts Records)

Michael D’Agnostino met what would become INNERrOUTe after relocating from New York City to West Milford, N.J., looking for jam partners.

A lot of jazz musicians like to think they’re boss at the art of improvisation. Onstage, the twists and turns of herding cats without a net (or charts) can become a train wreck and another jazz caricature. In the recording studio? Forget it.

New York City percussionist Michael D’Agostino and his three band mates — Rick Savage (trumpet, flugelhorn), Joe Vincent Tranchina (keys), Bill McCrossen (acoustic and electric fretless bass) — do what most seasoned jazz vets still have a hard time accomplishing. Together, this band of likeminded players and fast friends — formed over countless jam sessions in D’Agostino’s studio in West Milford, N.J. — manage to do the impossible on their debut record, Fourmation on Planet Arts Records.

The interesting album title from the Oct. 15, 2015 release doesn’t even begin to cut it.

These four musicians went into the recording studio to capture one night of improvisational ecstasy — together. The 12 original compositions, if you will, are a culmination of that attempt to tap into each musician’s innermost, intuitive impulses, but as a collective.

In many ways, the album’s tracks play out as a kind of dream sequence, with the same wordless, dreamy form of limitless communication that takes place entirely in a person’s imagination, beyond language or earth-bound definitions of property, ownership, and material ties, things that don’t matter.

If you really think about it, in dreams we have no need to haggle over words we do or do not say. Everything is transmitted via telepathy. That is the ultimate goal of every truth-seeking jazz musician.

That is what INNERrOUTe goes for here.

“Every time we get together, it’s to get out of the way, allowing a whole new fount of ideas to flow through us, never the same; that’s the beauty of our music,” D’Agostino explained in the liner notes.

Times Herald-Record music critic Timothy Malcolm dug it. “There’s a wondrous element of exploration to everything… because four very individual musicians found a way to work with each other, and yet completely within themselves, all at the same time. INNERrOUTe is an intriguing voyage.”

To go on such an intriguing voyage, all four of these musicians had to be on the same invisible page, relying solely on their connection to one another from time spent in those jam sessions. Trust and the ability to really listen — two of jazz’s most important attributes — lend themselves to such remarkable pieces like “The Roadless Traveled,” four minutes of what should’ve been a godless cacophony writ by wayward strategists out for themselves, zero end in sight.

Instead, horn player Rick Savage steps forward almost immediately in the clandestine shimmers of keyboardist Joe Vincent Tranchina’s ambient opening to set a timeless, romantic, and even techno-futuristic tone throughout. Savage forages through what sounds and feels like a dystopian world set several hundred years ahead. He plays melodic threads and a banquet of harmonic snippets meant perhaps to grasp fleeting, warm human elements underneath a cavern of nihilistic forward thinking in an atmospheric retreat. The other musicians naturally pick up on Savage’s wavelength, parting the way for him.

Most other times, as on “Slippery Slope,” the way is a little more cluttered. Typically, when jazz musicians go on an improvisational tear, the styles tend to muddle into the centrifugal force of the avant-garde, or free jazz — when anything goes. The end result for the listener is a disconcerting sense of the chaotic, where the ear doesn’t quite know what sound to latch onto. The sounds on this lengthy piece (over 13 minutes, the longest in the album) break up too frequently to get a handle on any specific mood, vibe, or direction, assuming there is any.

Yet, there is, however aimless at first listen.

Savage comes in once again to save the song, piercing through the broken shards of the other musicians’ completely intense interpretation of what’s going on to connect those dots. He turns a disparate tangle of voices into a cohesive number about souls falling apart and the inner conversations of those souls as they panic and watch their humanity wither away. At least that’s what it sounds like.

INNERrOUTe spent one night on Jan. 24, 2011 recording this album, “with no discussion, no rehearsal, no overdubbing, just creative listening; listening for an opening, an invitation for the magic to happen, allowing the music to tell us what it desires,” according to the liner notes.

If you think about the final end product of that one, fateful night, Fourmation does all that and more.  Carol Banks Weber http://www.axs.com/michael-d-agostino-s-innerroute-ad-libs-through-fourmation-for-jazz-ja-76512

 

Canvas

The Eighth Annual Hudson valley Jazz Festival Aug. 17-20, 2017

” As I write, I’m listening to the free improv group INNERrOUTe’s  FOURMATION. Today’s dominant jazz neo-bop style typically begins with a header melody/harmony section before moving to successive improvised solos within those harmonic parameters. In free improv, one musician leads by playing whatever emerges spontaneously from his or her mind.  The other musicians then chime in one by one, with everybody improvising together. Musicians must be very, very good to pull this off. Pianist Joe Tranchina, Drummer Michael D’Agostino, Trumpeter Rick Savage and Bassist Bill McCrossen are definitely that good.  They perform on Saturday afternoon.”  by Phillip Ehrensaft   Canvas Newspaper & Online

 

amazon2a

Amazon.com October 4, 2015
Fourmation ’The magic, which happens in the improvisational moment, is self-evident.’
‘Improvisation’ is a jazz term frequently used but too rarely practiced. Such is not the case with INNERrOUTe – a group that presents a unique voice in the free improv jazz and jam band tradition. According to central figure Michael D’Agostino, ‘Our music is created simply by deeply listening to one another, responding, and creating as we go.’ The result: a compositionally and melodically oriented genre-bending free-improv jazz experience, touching rarely experienced and emotionally beautiful realms. Feeling uplifted, centered, and more fully alive are commonly reported side effects. Or as Michael says, ‘Surrender to the flow of the music, fully opening to the present moment, letting it take you where it may. And by the end, like many others, you’ll probably discover INNERrOUTe’s brought you home to yourself in a surprisingly profound way.
The ensemble is Michael D’Agostino, drums, percussion and engineeringBill McCrossen, double bass, Joe Vincent Tranchina, keyboard, Rick Savage, trumpet and flugelhorn.
The tracks are as follows: Consensual Motion First Prayer The Roadless Traveled Morpheus Awakens Slippery Slope
Sacred Eclipse Home and Deranged The Asking Realms Fourmation Grace InnerrOUTeTAKE: Where’s One?
For a true experience with the finest in improvisation, listen in – and feel what it does.

Grady Harp    www.amazon.com/innerroutereview

Midwest Record (September 29, 2015)
INNERROUTE/Fourmation: An equal mix of improv and fusion leavened with taking their time yields a very interesting new set from a crew that came together at the suggestion of their UPS delivery man. Tasty stuff dedicated to pushing the boundaries
of where certain forms of jazz lie, this crew gives you an unvarnished and uncommercial look behind the curtain where the muse is what it’s all about. A wonderful, wild ride whose chops keep you riveted throughout.
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher http://www.midwestrecord.com/MWR1010.html
*****

W. Royal Stokes – Author – Critic – Jazz Historian (January 2016) Notable 2015 Releases “INNERrOUte FOURMATION”
http://www.wroyalstokes.com/weblog/

• Avant Music News Picks of the Week (December 9, 2015)
http://avantmusicnews.com/2015/12/09/amn-picks-of-the-week-marco-oppedisano- jacob-garchik-will-mason-ensemble-smith-and-lindberg-innerroute/

 

Lively Arts:banner

INNERrOUTe/FOURMATION

This new Planet Arts cd highlights the work of four free-jazz practitioners who have been meeting regularly in the Milford, NJ studio built by drummer Michael D’Agostino and honing their craft there, the craft of spontaneous improvisation. The result of their collaboration can be found on FOURMATION, a disc on which the quartet plays some of the most adventurous, daring music imaginable. All 12 tracks were recorded on the same magical night, when they kicked off on a genre-bending jazz journey that catches the listener up in its unique spell.

Joining D’Agostino are trumpeter Rick Savage, keyboardist Joe Vincent Tranchina and bassist Bill McCrossen. The way they work is for one of them to start soloing and setting a tempo and mood, with the others then chiming in and building on the main ideas, stretching them out, adding new layers of meaning and complexity along the way. The result is quite astonishing, 21st-century jazz that not only sounds new and fresh but also touches one deeply.

Review by Willard Maus

http://www.lively-arts.com/music/2016/07/fourmation_fs.htm

 

Future Reflections

 

all Music

 

AllMusic Review by Stacia Proefrock
Employing a variety of instruments that range from electronic drums and keyboards to bodhran, dumbek, and Tibetan bells, Michael D’Agostino’s debut album, Future Reflections, is a multi-layered veneer of ethnic elements over a percussive framework that occasionally leans toward dance music, not unlike the sounds of Dead Can Dance or Deep Forest. D’Agostino manages to be a virtual one-man band on the recording, assisted by Jeff Thall on guitar (with Thall also sharing composer credits on two songs), but he also takes advantage of the skills that he has honed for years as a composer to create an album that shimmers with many different textures.D’Agostino also seems to have developed the steady hand and vision necessary to make music of this sort sound deep and resonant without being cluttered. Future Reflections is not an album that immediately grabs you and shocks you with its brilliance, but D’Agostino has an admirable debut album here, a recording that is pleasant and inspires introspection.  http://www.allmusic.com/album/future-reflections-mw0000253382

 

 

King Chubby IS

 

all Music

 

ALL MUSIC Review:

The members of King Chubby have played with folks like John Zorn, Pat Metheny, and Yoko Ono. They also all are involved with writing academic music books, inventing their own instruments, figuring out what multimedia project they should apply their Guggenheim grant to, or something of that heady nature. So King Chubby Is isn’t going to be the type of record to groove to while driving with the top down, is it? Oh, but it is, in fact it’s so groovy, so fun, so dubby, it could have been titled “King Tubby Meets Can and Tortoise Uptown” or something. Smart with genuine heart, King Chubby are the often promised, never delivered combination of loft jazz and jam bands come to life, whether they meant it or not. The moody “Microgrand” is the only thing approaching “difficult”; everything else moves to a beat, not always 4/4 but a beat you can dance to even if it’s just a freaked-out space dance. Press releases make Robert Dick sound like the main man (he’s the flutist who gave the world the awesome Other Flute album and invented the Glissando Headjoint doohickey), but King Chubby is a band, a band of equals with stunning communication. Drummer Michael D’Agostino and bassist Mark Egan are a rock-solid rhythm section that knows when to embellish and when to support, keyboardist Ed Bialek creates the atmosphere, while Dick and Will Ryan (reeds, percussion, narration, and just about everything else) supply the wandering — not noodling — melodies. W.B. Yeats’ “Golden Apples of the Sun” poem, beat poetry, and studio banter are used as lyrics in a noncheeseball way and the bits of playfulness keep the listener from being totally spirited off the ground. Introspective, approachable, and filled with substance, the only bad thing you can say about this unclassifiable album is that it ends.  Review by David Jeffries.

http://www.allmusic.com/album/king-chubby-is-mw0000481975

 

Meniscus Magazine Review – Is King Chubby

In the latest studio release from King Chubby, the band combines two distinct styles. The band is able to create beautiful, subtle and sensual sounds with the various reed instruments played by Robert Dick and Will Ryan. Then in a split personality decision, they will make a 180-degree turn and create intense, psyche-techno jams with heavily synthesized sounds, distorted vocals, and intense bass lines by Mark Egan.

In “Turn it On”, “Wandering Angus”, and “Rock Sand” the chanting vocals created by Ryan and distorted by master sampler Ed Bialek, can turn a peaceful woodwind arrangement into a mysterious, and almost disturbing, old world cry.

“Awaken” starts with drummer Michael D’Agnostino laying down a solo, and then is slowly overtaken by muffled chants.

While listening to Is, I can’t help but wonder if director Peter Jackson heard King Chubby before starting work on Lord of the Rings. The chanting and vocal distortions created by King Chubby are disturbingly reminiscent of Sauron chanting for the “one ring”. The power of the vocals is thrilling, enchanting, and unsettling. And to think, these guys look so normal on their CD cover.

All LOR references aside, Is can be defined as the ultimate in instrumental world fusion. They harness the sounds of the Middle East, Spain, Japan, and South America to create a new kind of jam music. The talented musicians that make-up King Chubby come from a diverse and unique background. Their originality can be heard on every track of Is.

 

 

Music Matters 2

 

King Chubby—Is
2004, Caliente Records
This band is built around the pioneering flute playing of Robert Dick. He is aided by outstanding veteran jazz musicians. The album cover says file under World, Fusion and Instrumental. From the first time I listened to this CD I wondered why I liked it so much. The sound is an ethereal mix of free-form jazz, effect-laden flute and sound effects. This sort of music to my ear is often insular, esoteric and ultimately uninvolving. The difference here is in the force of the compositions and the imaginative virtuoso playing of the musicians. Each band member seems to be stretching the boundaries of their instruments without loosing the threads that hold the songs together. Bassist Mark Egan (formerly of the Pat Methany Group) and drummer Michael D’Agostino lay down a fluid bottom line upon which the others layer unique percussion, reed work and sampled sounds. Spacey at times but often compelling. —Michael Devlin  http://www.mmreview.com/Issues/19/index19.html#Anchor-King-35326

 

Universal Music/Promo Sheet

 

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