DJ Logic, Andy Coe, Pete Ciotti, & Wil Blades 11.5.15
Words By Coleman Schwartz
Photos By Scott Shrader (J. Scott Shrader Photography)
Thursday night at Nectar Lounge in Seattle saw one of the venue’s most interesting bills in recent memory. Local contemporary jazz quartet Industrial Revelation started things off, and the headlining act was a super-jam between guitarist Andy Coe, drummer Pete Ciotti, organist Wil Blades and DJ Logic.
When it came time for the first proper solo of the show, Flory-Barnes drove the crowd mad with his smoothly executed upright bass work. He made the instrument absolutely scream, and was able to use hammer-ons and pull-offs with a proficiency I did not realize was possible on upright. He made brilliant use of his high notes, always adding in the perfect harmonies to his previous lines, but never missing a beat in terms of driving the melody. He passed the spotlight to Rawlings, who wowed us with his refined dynamics and effects usage. As the crowd focused on his keyboard solo, Lewis tip-toed back into the mix behind him, their apparent psychic connection flooring everyone in attendance. As Flory-Barnes locked into a groove with Lewis, Rawlings continued his solo over the top, adding in lots of wah-pedal. Oluo sat this portion out, dancing heartily on the side of the stage. He rejoined the band briefly to close out the song, but you could tell he was due for an explosion later in the show.
To follow this, they began a tune with a snapping intro from Flory-Barnes and some a capella work. As the whole band came into the mix, he and Lewis again displayed their ability to effortlessly lock into a tight groove. Flory-Barnes continued to impress with his pinch harmonics, and was visibly getting highly involved in the performance, looking almost possessed as he kept up with Lewis’s tempo. Lewis had the biggest smile on his face, you can tell that he takes an enormous amount of well-deserved pride in this project. Over this tight groove, Rawlings started to get extremely funky with the clavinet setting on his keyboard. The entire band was clearly ready to break free of their jazz mold and do something different. Lewis could be heard asking, “Where is Grace Love?!” To answer this question, she came onstage from the crowd. The rest of the band entered full-on funk mode, and she began to sing over them. The jazz audience at Nectar could not believe this was happening, and started to get a bit crazier. Her vocal lines interplayed perfectly with Oluo’s trumpet lines, carrying the melody and moving all of the fans to dance with extra vigor. As the jam slowed down and came towards its end, she embraced Oluo and left the stage.
The band stopped after this song, and appeared briefly to be finished with their set. The raucous reaction of the crowd quelled these notions, and the band members selected a final song to appease the audience. Flory-Barnes unleashed a barrage of notes that was seemingly endless, until it settled into a smooth quote of Radiohead’s “The National Anthem.” This quote continued, with spacey noise effects in the background from Rawlings, until Lewis and Oluo also joined into the cover. At this point, I was powerless but to scream at this unexpected cover of a personal favorite song. Lewis flawlessly reproduced Phil Selway’s chaotic cymbal work, while Oluo managed to nail the song’s horn part and Thom Yorke’s vocals simultaneously. Their version was complete with an improvised section in the middle, which was tied back into the song after a few minutes by Flory-Barnes’s subtle teasing of the bassline. Oluo eventually brought the song all the way back as he switched back to covering Yorke’s vocal part for a beautiful reprise of the main verse. This was the perfect cherry on top of their set, showing that these artists can handle anything from jazz standards to some of the most contemporary, jazz-inspired music out there. They are bringing groove-oriented jazz to the people in an accessible manner, and it makes me so happy to say that this is something you can only see regularly in Seattle. If you can, try to make it out to see their next show at the Seamonster Lounge on November 30, 2015).
The three musicians took a set break as DJ Logic took over the stage next. Logic brought his signature brand of neo-soul-jazz, which went over extremely well in a live setting. This eclectic concoction of styles was perfect to get a dance party going on the main floor, while being relaxed enough for the older jazz fans sitting upstairs to converse to and enjoy. Most of Logic’s work is done on the turntables, and he is definitely a scratch-master. He wore a shirt that read “Miles Ahead,” a statement he substantiated throughout the evening. He can be distinguished from many other DJs by his far-reaching use of extended harmonies and compound, moving basslines. This man has clearly spent a lot of time listening to Herbie Hancock.
The remainder of the set included plenty of exciting interplay between each of the artists. One of the most interesting combinations was seeing Ciotti play melodic drums solos with Logic scratching percussively over the top. Generally, the melody was passed between Blades and Coe for most of the set, which lead to many diverse sounds (partially due to Blades’ ability to switch up instrumentation). Logic’s contributions were subtle most of the time, he did a fantastic job improving the other musicians through his scratching. I think many other DJ’s in that situation may have tried to overdo things a bit, but he played his cards in an extremely musical fashion that was perfect for the occasion.
I am not sure if these musicians plan to continue touring together in the future, but if they do I will be very excited to see them continue to improve and gel as a unit. Given how much they improved just during their set together, you can tell these guys have serious potential, given more practice together. The future of jazz-inspired, contemporary music looks very bright, especially here in Seattle.
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