Mar 4 2015
Inside Voices begins with the basic building blocks of a strong melody, thick harmonies and a well-lit rhythmic path. From there, Kenosha Kid multitasks the steady, patient construction of those basics into materials more complex and detailed with each subsequent expression. The care and attention paid to the shaping of the album pays huge dividends. As each song develops within its personal borders of first note and last, it keeps in mind all that has come before while simultaneously training an eye on the horizon line of what comes next. The connection points span many distances.
Opening track “Vanishing Point” bathes in harmonies that possess the brightness and warmth of the morning sun. Its potent melody is drawn on thick and made simple to follow along. Guitarist Dan Nettles’ solo stays cupped within the rhythm section’s guiding hand. A bit of effusiveness near the conclusion doesn’t erase the languorous ambiance at the heart of the song, but it does set the table for the next track and those that follow.
“Fabrication” returns to the album’s opening state by sweetly rolling out the melody atop a bed of harmonies. The teamwork of saxophonists Peter van Huffel and Greg Sinibaldi and trumpeter Jacob Wick shifts deftly from a comforting tone to one hinting at a potential for aggression. But even after the song’s volume and tempo do spike, the trio of wind instruments continue referring to that opening statement of melody so that a peaceful demeanor hangs in the air above the torrential downpour. The song begins, middles and ends much like the one previous, but with a greater resonance and a greater attention to the details.
“Liberty Bell” takes the thick harmonies and well-crafted melody and begin to layer it over with tiny embellishments and denser materials. It’s a song with presence. Nettles’ guitar bends and winds and cries softly with a slow and unyielding grace. It grows into a song that gives the impression it might swell and burst at the seams, but the bass and drums duo of Robby Handley and Marlon Patton gather the song in gently and ease it along, and it’s why the song remains a lovely, peaceful sigh.
“Zombie Party” is where the septet decides to let the effusiveness break out. The melody sets the dance floor to a tuneful bounce and sway. The celebratory nature that had been kept wrapped up begins to show. Saxophones wail, trumpet roars, guitar smoulders with heat, and the cadence edges ahead with a bit of volatility.
“Map of the Universe” lets it completely out of the bag. And even though the peacefulness has been discarded for a more buoyant personality, the way in which Handly and Patton dig in to a thick groove maintains a sense of containment and a look to the steady hand of past songs… no matter how wild their ensemble mates might get. In addition, the wavering hum of electronic effects that bleeds into the flow of things instills a bit of an ambient touch, further strengthening the ties to the earlier tracks.
“Mushmouth” is a shout to the sky. The groove becomes looser and deeper, and the modern indie-jazz takes on the demeanor of a hard bop funk from time past. It’s a natural landing spot from the song previous, and it’s the perfect launching pad into the album’s final track.
“Everyone I Know” brings it all together. A radiant personality, it crackles with electricity and echoes strongly of the warm thick harmonies and rich melodies of the album’s opening tracks. Tuneful and agitated, lyrical and ebullient… the languorous peace and the lively excitement coexisting in one final expression, a culmination of everything that had been so meticulously drawn out in the moments leading up to the finale. The conclusion is a satisfying one, but more riveting is the way it fully reveals the album’s ultimate shape and puts in perspective everything that led up to the moment of finality.
Just a tremendous effort. Highly recommended.
Your album personnel: Dan Nettles (guitar), Jacob Wick (trumpet), Peter van Huffel (alto sax), Greg Sinibaldi (tenor & baritone saxes), Robby Handley (bass) and Marlon Patton (drums).
This album is Self-Produced.
Jazz from the Athens, GA scene.
Brick & Mortar retail option: Horizon Records (Greenville, SC)