When you are in New Orleans, or in New York, you have a bar at your pallet's disposal called DBA: wonderful world beers beckoning, cozy ambiance at your periphery, and diligent bar keeps at your service. But if you were to close your eyes and open your ears there would be one striking difference between the two. Live music. And if you were to hear the skins of a drum, the stroke of a bass, you would only need to smile because you know you're in the swamp. Frenchman St. New Orleans. DBA. USA.
On this sweaty Wednesday evening our tour guides were the NOLA jazz powerhouses, Quintology. Through the many forms of jazz that New Orleans has to offer, there is one group that continues to recreate itself and the progressive jazz world around it, and it is Quintology. Let’s say it together: Quin-to-lo-gy.
With roots as deep as 30's bee-bop and pumping swing, to drum and bass and rock, Quintology embodies the progression of modern jazz in New Orleans. But enough, let us proceed to the venue...
DBA is a sound funnel. That is true.
Saturated wooden to the core as it churns colorful sound into listeners' ears, the sound funnel always delivers. If you have chosen to relax into the first two rows of old theater bucket seats, the sound funnel sits on your lap. And spins and spins. What inspiration is channeled from the music's energy is skipped like a rock over the tip bucket and transported to the listener. SPLASH!! Into the belly.
With the recent hiatus of keys man Charlie Dennard to Cirque de Soleil and drummer Marc DiFlorio to Oregon, Quintology has been re-energized by two young bucks on the jazz circuit, drummer Simon Lott and keyboardist Brian Coogan, both out of the Baton Rouge music scene. Lott and Coogan add a potent spark to the fuel of risk taking in the present Q arrangements as well as new compositions. The main songwriters, Brian Seeger (guitar), Brent Rose (sax), and Tommy Sciple, are three of the most adventurous and talented musicians playing in the city. And creating new things, is their thing.
The Q's have a unique way of "propellation." Yes that is new word. "Propellation" is the act in which all members of a group but one take each corner of their improvisational parachute and pull and pull and pull.
And pull as to stretch boundaries of structure, only to POP the lone member in the sky, leaping shotgun houses in a single bound, supporting the other free member as they play, run and act free upon an open form. Only to be caught and sprung up again. And this evening was no different. We witnessed this occurrence a few times through the first set, on tunes such as "Oobababeebob" (Rose), and "For the Record" (Seeger/Dennard).
At times, the veteran Q members pulled the parachute very tight on this evening, as each fiber of jazz-nylon snapped and popped as it propelled Lott and Coogan on many a musical journey. I believe it was during the tune "James Brown," played amidst the three song, 1 hour 15 minute second set, that Lott got a double bounce propellation by Sciple and Coogan that sent him higher as he displayed brilliant chops that would make Bob Gulotti proud.
There were many musical palaces built this night, only to be demolished brick by brick by Quintology. During many a blistering improvisation, never once did the quintet commit to a theme for longer than it took to completely break it down to the ground.
Hope to see you all on Frenchman St. soon.
Words and Images by: Zack Smith
JamBase | New Orleans
Go See Live Music!
Find more images by Zack Smith at: zacksmith.com.