East West Quintet: Gangster Rap

Track

Gangster Rap

Group

East West Quintet

CD

Vast (Native Language Music)

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Musicians:

Dylan Heaney (tenor sax, alto sax, flute),

Simon Kafka (guitar), Mike Cassedy (piano, Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer), Benjamin Campbell (acoustic bass, electric bass), Jordan Perlson (drums, percussion)

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Composed by Dylan Heaney

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Recorded: San Clemente CA, June 4-9 2007

Eastwestquintet-vast

Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

So what’s a song called “Gangster Rap” coming from a five-piece jazz combo sound like? Head-nodding soul-jazz, that’s what. No gangsters, no rapping, but there’s that same, chilled-out vibe. Even though the tempo of the beat stays the same, the cadence of it switches between hip-hop, various rock-oriented moods, and finally, softly lands into a near-waltz. As the tenor of the beat changes, so does the rest of the song.

The tune stays on virtually the same key throughout, but that simplicity is a deception. Several distinct thematic expressions are sprung from it: there’s a slowed down modern jazz unison line by Heaney and Kafka; Heaney’s searing solo built up out of nursery rhyme phrasing; Cassedy’s soothing Rhodes lines which puts out that fire.

“Gangster Rap” borrows from many elements, goes through many moods, and yet remains a unified piece. Unified perhaps because it induces that head nodding from beginning to end.

Reviewer: S. Victor Aaron

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