East West Quintet: Gangster Rap


Gangster Rap


East West Quintet


Vast (Native Language Music)

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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)


Composed by Dylan Heaney


Recorded: San Clemente CA, June 4-9 2007


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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