Saturday, March 14, 2015

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Six from Kneebody

This week, our video showcase features some clips from Kneebody, who will be making their St. Louis debut this coming Wednesday, March 18 through Saturday, March 21 at Jazz at the Bistro.

Formed in 2001, Kneebody includes four former students at the Eastman School of Music - trumpeter Shane Endsley, saxophonist Ben Wendel, bassist Kaveh Rastegar and keyboard player Adam Benjamin - plus drummer Nate Wood, who met Benjamin when the keyboardist transferred to CalArts. After graduating from Eastman, the other members moved to Los Angeles and the five of them began working together soon after, writing original material and developing their own specific sound as a unit.

Though all five also have maintained solo careers, they've been making music as Kneebody ever since, with a catalog of recordings that includes five studio albums, the most recent of which is 2013's The Line, plus three live albums and a studio record of Charles Ives songs with singer Theo Bleckman. Nate Chinen of the New York Times called them "a resolutely un-pindownable band" that "uses a common jazz instrumentation to make a somewhat less common amalgam of urban-signifying genres, from electro-pop to punk-rock to hip-hop."

And indeed, Kneebody's music represents something of a departure from the usual for Jazz at the Bistro, one that might not appeal to the older and/or more traditionally minded portion of their subscription audience. The hope is, one presumes, that there will be compensatory gains in attendance and enthusiasm among younger and more adventurous listeners who might not turn out in large numbers for, say, John Pizzarelli or Freddy Cole.

Time will tell how that plays out. But in the meantime, you can watch, listen and form your own impressions of Kneebody from today's selection of music videos, starting up above with "Uprising," recorded earlier this year at Berklee College of Music's high school jazz festival at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston.

After the jump, you'll see two clips from 2014: "Trite," recorded at a venue called Musig-im-Ochsen in the Hotel Ochsen in Muri, Switzerland, which features some interesting rattly cymbal stuff from Nate Wood; and "Drum Battle," recorded at Kulturzentrum Schlachthof in Bremen, Germany, which, as the name suggests, also features Wood.

Next up are "Lowell" and "Work Hard Play Hard Towel Hard," both recorded in 2013 at the Blue Whale in Los Angeles, and last but not least, a live version of "Dr. Bouchef, Penguin Dentist" from the band's 2007 album Low Electrical Worker.

For more about Kneebody, check out this interview that bassist Kaveh Rastegar did in 2013 with Westword and this review from London Jazz News of their UK debut last November, plus their 2011 video interview with The JazzLine.

You can see the rest of today's videos after the jump...

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