…they don’t sacrifice a measure of musical dexterity for the sake of style, but energetically attack originals and standards with equal amounts of enthusiasm.
Rhythm Future Quartet and Friends
Rhythm Future Quartet
Magic Fiddle Music
13 tracks 56:29
The word ‘future’ might be part of this quartet’s name, but don’t be misled – while the Rhythm Future Quartet can indeed swing to some very modern jazz modes, the band’s roots certainly go back to the original Hot Club of France of the early 30s. As a matter of fact, what’s wonderful about these young musicians is that they don’t sacrifice a measure of musical dexterity for the sake of style, but energetically attack originals and standards with equal amounts of enthusiasm.
Jason Anick deftly handles violin and mandolin, Ollie Soikkeli and Max O’Rourke play guitars, and Greg Loughman is on bass – together, these fine musicians evoke not merely the sound but the spirit of The Hot Club – guitar legend Django Reinhardt and violin master Stephane Grappelli, specifically. Right from the opening track, “Jaytude No. 1 in Em,” the group exuberantly explodes into full swing mode as if they have one foot in the future and the other in the past. This is followed by the more wistful, melodic “Cachoeira,” another Anick composition (he wrote four of the thirteen songs), this time with a more moderate tempo and a Brazilian feel.
The first of three ‘friends’ shows up on Duke Ellington’s “Solitude,” which features the captivating vocals of Cyrille Aimee (appropriately French-flavored) as well as Jason Anick’s most Grappelli-like moments on the project. A more contemporary-sounding ballad follows, with O’Rourke and Anick teaming up as co-writers of “Colorado.”
The quartet seems to effortlessly execute complex tandem guitar/violin runs (and guitar/violin/bass runs) that sound like a near-impossible musical juggling act – but they manage to pull it off. The rhythmically-challenging “Jazz Crimes” (featuring ‘friend’ number two – Hamilton De Holanda on bandolim) manages to entertain and dazzle at the same time. “Vertigo” harkens back (at least to me) to Jason’s time touring with John Jorgenson, the Baltic flavor and unique harmonies almost conjuring a ‘phantom clarinet’ effect. Stochelo Rosenberg (‘friend’ number 3) adds his stellar guitar work to “Sleepless,” the final Anick composition in the penultimate spot on the album.
O’Rourke’s charming “138 Harrison” closes the near-hour of music with the nostalgic sound of a string octet audibly being counted-in and very sweetly accompanying the quartet in this melodic closing-credits sequence (use your imagination) to a fine musical experience, indeed.
Produced by Anick, the sound is clean, vivid and beautifully balanced. The Rhythm Future Quartet shows, on this album, that ‘gypsy jazz’ doesn’t necessarily restrict your choices – the album is nicely-textured by a variety of styles from swing to hints of BeBop, to Bossa Nova but the group never loses its musical identity.
Aristotle is said to have identified three types of friends: friends of utility, friends of pleasure, and friends of mutual respect and admiration – apparently, this quartet chooses their friends wisely.
- Bert Saraco