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Open Thread - Blog


jazz-creamLittle over an hour south of Cleveland in a small town called New Philadelphia, I stood witness to an awesome funkadelic assault on the senses, a musical melee delivered by mercenaries of sound who call themselves The Jazz Cream Assassins, and admittedly, fell victim to the groove.

Originating in Athens, Ohio, but touring healthily around the eastern Ohio/Youngstown area, the Jazz Cream Assassins are a jazz outfit that harkens back to the era of 70s-era funk fusion. Being a big fan of 70s and 80s exploitation cinema, I could not help but be reminded of some of the very best grooves from some of my favorite blaxploitation film scores when the Assassins got into the midst of their instrumental riffing, and that, in of itself, is perhaps one of the highest compliments I can pay a group of white guys playing within this genre.

Fronted by Zach Quillen (though, with the extreme talent possessed by each and every member of the outfit, it’s hard to imagine just one man out front), the band melds traditional jazz with vocal oriented tracks (that would be Quillen’s smooth voice you hear) to create a soundscape at once familiar to smoky bars and gin joints, but also shockingly fresh and new. The band truly excels when they are playing one of their original tunes, such as the unabashedly direct “Dance Bitch”, which encourages you to do just that, or the band’s ultra funky titular tune, “Jazz Cream”, which I considered to be a great highlight of the evening, as it certainly got the boys and girls alike out on the dance floor to shake it like no one was watching.

The band also showed their innovative skills when playing cover versions of songs such as Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth”, turning a straight-forward acoustic folk hit into an extended jazz number, complete with instrumental solos and a rhythmic breakdown that took Stephen Stills & company’s classic protest song and turned it into a sweat inducing jam.

By this point in the review, I think it is clearly obvious that I cannot recommend the Jazz Cream Assassins enough, and if you can get to see them live (and you should, they seem to have dates lined-up from here until the end of the Mayan calendar), you will not be disappointed.

jazzonstage-copy

For further information on the band, as well as several full length song samples, check them out on MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/thejazzcreamassassins



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