Monday, 24 April 2017
Since 2001 when Kneebody burst onto the American music scene, critics have struggled to adequately describe their eclectic jazz-rock fusion sound.
In 2013 The New York Times summed up the difficulty in pigeon-holing this genre-defying band: “There isn’t a handy term or genre for the music that Kneebody creates. It’s a band thoroughly acquainted with 1960s free-bop, 1970s jazz rock, 1990s hip-hop and postmillennial indie rock; along with classical postminimalism. Whatever the terminology, this group has an audience…the crowd has been vocal in its enthusiasm.”
This Los Angeles-based musical quintet has pushed against the limitations of jazz to forge an instrumental approach distinguished by no-holds-barred improvisation and an explosive ensemble attack. Kneebody’s ability to fuse many styles of jazz and all else is built on the talented compositional contributions of its five members.
Kneebody is made up of keyboardist Adam Benjamin, trumpeter Shane Endsley, electric bassist Kaveh Rastegar, saxophonist Ben Wendel and drummer Nate Wood.
These five musicians have known each other since their late teens when they met while at The Eastman School of Music and Cal Arts. Since then, each band member has amassed an impressive list of credits and accomplishments over the years all while the band has continued to thrive and grow in reputation, solidifying a fan base around the world.
The band has no leader or rather, each member is the leader; they’ve developed their own musical language, inventing a unique cueing system that allows them each to change the tempo, key, style, and more in an instant.
“We are a democratic, equally owned-and-operated band with shared leadership,” says trumpeter Shane Endsley. “Everyone brings in music and everyone votes on everything. And it’s always been just the five of us.”
Since 2005, Kneebody has released six albums, including their 2009 Grammy-nominated 12 Songs of Charles Ives with vocalist Theo Bleckmann. Their most recent offering, Anti-Hero, was released earlier this year on Motéma Records. The Chicago Reader praised the album of “essentially jazz-rock fusion” for the musicians’ impressive agility to combine huge, swaggering grooves from the keyboard, bass and drums with front-line melodies deftly shaped by the horn players.
Now, for the first time ever, WAAPA is delighted to introduce Kneebody to Perth audiences in two shows in May, thanks to the generous support of the Jackman Furness Foundation for the Performing Arts.
Kneebody will perform with WAAPA’s Jazz students under the musical direction of Chris Tarr at Hale School in Wembley Downs on Thursday, 11 May at 7.30pm and the following night at Perth College in Mount Lawley on Friday, 12 May. Both schools boast concert venues with superb acoustics and seating.
Don’t miss this incredible opportunity to enjoy a rarity of musical experience as this truly original band continue to demonstrate their desire to push the boundaries and forge a new musical path.
“Putting a finger on a band like Kneebody is a bit like raising it to the wind. At any given moment, the group’s artistic inclinations can whip in an unpredictable direction.” – Wall Street Journal
“…the band has always had the same line up, honing its vision into something that hovers in the worlds of jazz and rock while tossing in other genre elements, as well.” – Spinner
For all venue and performance details, please visit the Kneebody performance web page.