The Slip are in a league of their own - a young and talented band with a loyal grassroots following whose improvisational music is primarily jazz-based. In fact, two of the band’s record release parties for their latest effort, Does, are at jazz clubs - the legendary Scullers in Boston (6.27), and The Knitting Factory in New York City (6.28). Whereas The Slip’s first album, From the Gecko, is more pop-oriented, Does has a more jazzy feel overall and this album showcases the vast scope of their range as a trio. The album contains its fair share of well-crafted, catchy pop songs, but the straight ahead jazz tunes are the cuts that will make this record stand the test of time.

The opening track, “Catacea,” fades in as if one were swimming up from the depths of the ocean, foreshadowing the sunshine that awaits above sea-level. Building in intensity, the soundscape glimmers like a hollow moon rising, with ominous clouds looming on the horizon. Intrigued, the listener is ready to fully ingest the album with a song simply titled “So Dope”. Once they’ve captured your attention, it’s time to experience the triple sonic enigma that constitutes The Slip. As drummer Andrew Barr holds the rhythm ship steady, bassist Marc Friedman and Guitarist Brad Barr expertly trade solos and weave skewed guitar lines between each other.

In concert, The Slip’s honesty and sincerity really shines through. Those pure feelings are apparent on this record, especially on “The Invocation,” which segues perfectly out of the percussive interlude of “Paint Cans,” a layering of three rhythms to produce an African sound, a full polyrhythmic experience. The slowed down tempo and beautiful echoing chorus of “The Invocation” lulls the listener into a gentle, loping groove, except for the two amazingly fast runs that blow you back in your seat. The Slip always seem to have that ace up their sleeve, staying one step ahead of you, able to instantly inject intensity into their composition just as they hook you into believing the song is slow and deliberate.

[Note: there is a live version of “Paint Cans”->”The Invocation”, different from the studio album version available for immediate streaming on the JamBase WorldCasters Audio Archives page.]

It’s not just jazz or pop here; there are textured compositions that turn into amazing jams. “Rhythm and Gold,” a longtime Slip favorite, at 8:09 is the longest tune on the record and stretches the dynamic range beyond standard expectations. The lengthy beautiful beginning segues smoothly into a rumbling by Friedman, continuing to build tension before exploding into the verse section, “Rhythm and Gold in the heart of America” - resounding rhythms, for sure! As The Slip crossover into other genres, they only stretch their boundaries further, uniting their styles through their improvisation, and covering more ground in the process.

As The Slip blossoms, don’t be surprised to see them able to fill more jazz clubs, as jazz purists expand to seek a more organic groove. Traditional jazz publications such as Down Beat and Jazz Times are now routinely covering improvisational jam music and are beginning to understand and respect the culture being nourished. To finally see a younger band turn on the older jazz audience to the unbelievable jams that are going on in this world would truly be a turning point for the culture that we are nourishing here. The Slip has that power.

The Slip may play jazz songs, but with their unique combination of mystique, neo-hippie idealism and a loyal following, they create a new sub-genre in today’s evolving jazz landscape. It’s impossible to label or categorize them, so just enjoy The Pleasant Presence of the Present Tense.

-Ted Kartzman, JamBase San Francisco

Buy “Does” Now from Homegrown Music!

[Published on: 6/20/00]

Take full advantage of all JamBase has to offer by signing up for an account!

You'll receive

show alerts

when your favorite artists announce shows, be eligible to enter contests for

free tickets

, gain the ability to

share your personalized live music calendar

and much more. Join JamBase!