… these four musicians bounce off each other, intertwine melodically, mimic elaborate runs, and charge the air with unbridled energy and the sheer joy of playing.
Rhythm Future Quartet
13 tracks / 59:50
The remarkably talented Rhythm Future Quartet, if not carefully listened to, might cause you to think they’re just four musicians among many imitating the sound of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli’s Hot Club of France - that assumption would be a mistake. In fact, that would be as wrong as comparing an art student’s copy of a Monet painting to the work of an artist who creates great impressionist art because it’s simply what’s inside and needs to be expressed. Somehow – through some musical alchemy – The Rhythm Future Quartet creates music that is not a tribute to the Hot Club but is a by-product of what makes these four men tick, musically.
Greg Loughman on bass, Olli Soikkeli on guitar, Max O’Rourke on ‘second’ guitar, and Jason Anick on violin, play not as if they’re trying to imitate their musical heroes but - like the best work of Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks (who dabbled in Gypsy swing) - they sound like they’re visiting 2017 from another time and place – lucky for us! Whether delivering a soulful ballad, a hot gypsy-jazz barn-burner, or even (yes) The Beatles’ “Come Together,” these four musicians bounce off each other, intertwine melodically, mimic elaborate runs, and charge the air with unbridled energy and the sheer joy of playing.
The twelve originals and the single cover song are infused with furious, impassioned rhythms, elegant melodies and surprising tempo changes. Loughman’s bass lines underpin the songs and dance with O’Rourke’s irrepressible rhythm work. The timing, string tensions, and melodic sense of Soikkeli’s playing are infused with the spirit of Reinhardt, and Anick seems to ooze Grappelli from his very pores with his fluid and elegant lines – how can one hear Anick’s coda on “Je Sius Seul Ce Soir” without hearing echoes of the great Stephane?
The music is fresh and new but with a keen sense of melody and structure that you don’t often hear anymore. That the quintet could wring some jazz out of a source as unlikely as the simple Lennon gut-level “Come Together” is an achievement indeed. The breezy, Parisian-sounding “For Paulus,” has a vintage feel to it, especially compared to the Title-track, “Travels,” which takes the group in a more modern direction. The tender, somewhat mournful “Still Winter” sets up the delightful, precision swinging in “The Keeper,” which is then – amazingly – one-upped by the furious tempo of Soikkeli’s ode to his home town, “Bushwick Stomp.”
Of course there’s much more – the richly textured “Round Hill,” the pure Gypsy Jazz (with a twist of funk) of “Made In France,” and the more complex, rhythmic, ethnic-sounding “Vessella.”
Travels is a excellent offering from a must-see, must-hear group of musicians, and this is fine place to introduce yourself to the world of acoustic jazz.