There’s no weak link in this musical chain, as they navigated through the better part of two hours’ worth of stunningly-played classical/chamber/jazz …
Rhythm Future QuartetThe Rhythm Future Quartet in concert at Joe’s Pub – NYC
In the cultural afterglow of the time-travel epic Avengers Endgame, a comfortably intimate gathering of music lovers was transported back a century or so from Joe’s Pub in New York City to a small café in Paris. The incident had no cosmic origins but instead could be traced to the activities of four stunningly-talented musicians channeling the Hot Club of France. Maybe it was more a case of the spirits of Django and Stephane inhabiting the members of the Rhythm Future Quartet who, to slightly misquote the Apostle Paul, seem to play as if they have ‘been born at the wrong time.’ Lucky for us.
The acoustic quartet, made up of Jason Anick (violin and mandolin), Ollie Soikkeli (guitar), Max O’Rourke (guitar), and Greg Loughman (bass), play covers and original pieces in alternatingly furious and languorous modes. “Treetops,” played by request (and found on the fine new album, Rhythm Future Quartet and Friends), evokes both contentment and bemusement in sweetly-stated melancholic violin phrases that give way to playfully deliberate rhythm work. The tandem melodies played by guitar and violin against the always-present, solid bass lines create a mood that wants to take you away while the virtuosity of the players keeps you solidly in the moment. On the other end of the spectrum, “Jaytude No.1 In EM” is a dazzling whirlwind of runs from violin and guitar, frenzied but precise rhythm playing, melodic bass passages and ensemble playing worthy of the aforementioned Hot Club.
It would be impossible to see and hear Anick without imagining that this is what a young Stephane Grappelli might play in a similar musical setting. The exquisite improvising, the tone, harmonics, inventiveness and joy of playing are all there. Soikkeli and O’Rourke are equally impressive and each recall the brilliance of Reinhardt in their playing. Either is capable of fronting a group of their own and the interplay of the two men is both impressive and indicative of a mutual respect for the chops of the other. Loughman holds down a sure-footed bass line and occasionally emerges to inject solo spots with an elegant ear towards melody and tone. There’s no weak link in this musical chain, as they navigated through the better part of two hours’ worth of stunningly-played classical/chamber/jazz …or whatever you might decide to label this fine music. Certainly, it encompasses everything from classical to jazz and even some faint ghost of rock and roll, if I’m reading my guitarists correctly. And why not? Time travel always gets complicated.
- Words and images by Bert Saraco, with help from Carina Saraco
You can see more of Bert’s concert photography at www.facebook.com/express.image