Custom Bucket #1
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Art of Jazz at the Olympic Sculpture Park: Industrial Revelation
General Event Information
Live Music: Jazz
Dates and Times:
August 14, 6:30PM-9:00PM
Garage-jazz quartet Industrial Revelation has been making music together in various incarnations for a decade, but with their new studio album Oak Head (October 15, 2013) they’re poised to make a major statement in the world of black improvised music. Founded by D’Vonne Lewis, one of Seattle’s most sought-after drummers and the grandson of Seattle rhythm and blues legend Dave Lewis, the band also features Ahamefule J. Oluo on trumpet, Evan Flory-Barnes on bass, and Josh Rawlings on keyboards. Individually, the four members of I.R. have worked with nearly every major artist in Seattle, and plenty more beyond–from Macklemore and Das Racist to Robert Glasper and Wynton Marsalis. Collectively, the band is equally at home playing at a house party in Olympia or on stage at Benaroya Hall, and they bring that affinity for the epic and the intimate to every track onOak Head.
With their previous albums, I.R. sought to capture the engrossing, stomping scope of their live shows, which turn on a dime from hushed sincerity to sweaty bombast and have earned the band an obsessive cult following (City Arts’s Jonathan Zwickel described I.R. in concert as, “beautiful, dramatic, psychedelic, funny, funky, swinging, punchy”). But Oak Head marks a stark, pointed departure, both musically and conceptually. The album celebrates the introspective capacity of studio recordings, distilling and polishing I.R.’s messy fire and powerful spontaneity into something utterly new. “On Oak Head,” Oluo explains, “we embraced the refinement of the studio–it’s a very deliberate album–but at the core of every single one of those songs is a group of people playing in one room together at the same time, feeding off each other’s energy and welcoming the unknown.” Lewis adds, “If there’s one thing about this band, it’s that we all just play from our hearts. This album represents that so well–it’s just straight focus, straight stripped-down emotions.”
The album’s advance single, “Saying Goodbye (to rainbow socks and hair dye),” strikes a radiantly minimalist groove, layering a simple but obsessive melody (in Oluo’s sonorous flugelhorn) over a relentless, twinkling heartbeat held down by Rawlings on the Fender Rhodes. Penned by Flory-Barnes and largely improvised on the day of recording, “Saying Goodbye” is direct musical communication–so stripped of posturing that it’s almost above genre. That devotion to pure melody, to the rejection of the confines of genre, is the driving philosophy behind Oak Head.
I.R. recorded the album at a remote cabin called Oak Head over just two cold spring days–including some songs they’d been playing for over a year, and others that weren’t even written before they started setting up microphones. It’s a deeply honest, deeply personal piece of work, fixated on the idea that a simple, strong melody can be as experimental as the most esoteric art. Oluo explains: “Sincerity is the absolute ripest playground for experimentation. The idea that the two are at odds is a myth. It’s all about balance. The more you stretch to the experimental ends of music, the more you have to embrace the humanity of music. The taller the tree, the deeper the roots. The roots of this album go deep.”
“It’s a jump-off,” says Lewis. “Even though we’re four albums deep, Oak Head is just the beginning. With our earlier albums we were still growing, you know? Finding our focus. Now we can really get it going.”