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East West Quintet: Anthem

East West Quintet is a jazz ensemble that started around 2003 in the New York area. Their last album Vast received much critical acclaim. Their new album Anthem has just made its way into my CD player.

The ensemble features Dylan Heaney (alto and tenor saxophones), Phil Rodriguez (trumpet), Simon Kafka (electric and acoustic guitars), Mike Cassedy (piano, keyboards), Benjamin Campbell (electric and upright bass) and Jordan Perlson (drums).

The band has a unique style blending heavy rock forms and jazz making this a pretty intriguing listen. On the album opening "Draft "loud piano and a cool drum pattern lead the tune through complex changes and off kilter rhythms. Before long, intense guitar riffs enter bringing this into the realm of heavy rock. Back and forth it goes between heavy rock and jazz with saxophone and trumpet blending into the soundscape. On "Next" the saxophone is the star of the show while "Interstellar" includes somber acoustic guitar and some exceptional drum work. As it builds in intensity sax and trumpet get a major workout until acoustic guitar and piano end the piece on a gentler note. One of the most interesting tunes has to be "Action Figure No. 3" where heavy guitar and bass chords are interrupted with trumpet breaks before taking a gentler turn with jazzy guitar leads and softer instrumentation. Eventually the heavily distorted guitar and bass return with a jarring intensity. "Experiment No. 3" is a much mellower affair with cool pulsating chords and lovely saxophone. On "Something" the intensity builds gradually before letting loose with some wonderful trumpet excursions and sinuous bass lines.

East West Quintet have created something quite unique with Anthem. The combination of heavy rock chords and jazzy complexity is both adventurous and totally absorbing. Excellent stuff!

Track Listing:
1. Draft
2. Next
3. Interstellar
4. Collider
5. Action Figure
6. Experiment No. 3
7. Something
8. White Lodge

Added: September 23rd 2015
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 1765
Language: english

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