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
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!