Live in Colorado – Steve Kimock Band
Searching for isomorphisms, as critics are wont to do, the Steve Kimock Band
has a sundry similarities with the Jazz Mandolin Project. Both bands mix
rock phrasings with jazz sensibilities, while improvisation remains a top
priority. The Steve Kimock Band has the ever-rotating cast of performers
element, which has led to the same incessant musical gestation noticeable in
the now matured Jazz Mandolin Project. Three years ago, Kimock's
associations with Ray White, Bobby Vega and Alan Hertz resulted in a
psychedelic, funk, world beat sound, and they performed covers of "It's Your
Thing" and "Rainbow's Cadillac." With three intelligent jazz oriented
players now being subsumed under the Steve Kimock Band umbrella, the music
has acquired more originality and eliminated the sleepy moments which were
patent in the post-Other Ones incarnation. On Live in Colorado,
Kimock teams with Rodney Holmes, Mitch Stein and Alphonso Johnson, and moves
musical textures and influences with a sweeping, impressionistic painter's
brush over 80 minutes of music; leaving the listener wishing for a second,
or even third disc.
Live in Colorado consists of a mere five tracks recorded – on
February 22nd and 23rd, 2002 – at the Gothic and Fox Theaters respectively.
Unlike past Steve Kimock Band releases, which revealed an eclectic mix of
musical styles, Live in Colorado consists of songs which represent
his band's current fusion. "Moon People," for example, amalgamates rock with
jazz and electronica elements. It commences with a Weather Report sentiment
before venturing into heavy metal passages, which – in turn – give way to
bleeps, bloops and feedback, before finally concluding with Black Sabbath
riffs. Most readers might think of moe. here, but the Steve Kimock Band has
a far different sound and feel, more intuitive and focused even at the
band's wildest moments.
When the band plays "Avalon," the change in the Steve Kimock Band from
previous formations becomes obvious. "Avalon" could simply have been a
joyous, African inflected piece, but – instead – the band adds melodic
elements which refuse resolution. Stein accentuates Kimock's major key
explorations with harmonic minor chords. As the listener expects Kimock to
begin playing his crystalline phrases, he plays chord melodies and fewer
notes, ala Joe Pass. The importance of Stein, Johnson and Holmes throughout
these proceedings cannot be underscored. Unlike past Kimock-led bands, where
the backing players simply created a construct for Kimock to solo, these
three musicians opening and reveal new passages for exploration. "Avalon"
exposes and explores those group dynamics in a startling presentation.
The only point where utter originality disappears occurs with the concluding
track, "Cole's Law." This is not because the piece lacks musical beauty or
sophistication, but because the aged Zero favorite lacks the voracious depth
of the recent original pieces featured on the album; thus highlighting the
change in the Steve Kimock Band.