JAMES FARM

Post-Fusion Contemporary / Fusion • United States
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Formed in 2009, James Farm is an acoustic jazz quartet consisting of saxophonist Joshua Redman, pianist Aaron Parks, bassist Matt Penman, and drummer Eric Harland. These four free-thinking musicians all individually hold a stake in the future of jazz, and together form a group with a new take on song-based improvisation, a group that invites you to share in the navigation of their own musical future.

From their first gig at the Montreal Jazz Festival they have been writing and honing music that carries strong melodies and buoyant grooves, but defies facile comparisons. They strive, in their own words “to make new musical connections for the times we live in, and new beats for what now surrounds us.” This band wants to move you, and only asks for an open mind.

In August 2010, after a year of touring during which the band’s many compositions got explored, re-imagined and cast out, James
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James Farm by James Farm (2011-06-21)James Farm by James Farm (2011-06-21)
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City FolkCity Folk
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JAMES FARM James Farm album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
James Farm
Post-Fusion Contemporary 2011
JAMES FARM City Folk album cover 3.50 | 2 ratings
City Folk
Fusion 2014

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JAMES FARM City Folk

Album · 2014 · Fusion
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js
The first time you spin James Farm’s “City Folk”, you may get the impression that its not much more than some instrumental indie rock/pop tunes with jazz solos. It doesn’t help that lead off tune, “Two Steps”, is not one of the strongest cuts on here, but give this CD some more plays and a deeper more complex creation will reveal itself. There is a melodic indie pop element to many of these songs, but others are more abstract in their blending of modern fusion and post bop, and on every cut, the band is careful to avoid anything too predictable or cliché.

For those looking for something more in the way of a jazz workout, “North Star” and “Mr E” are probably two of the best tracks to go with. Of the more melodic fare, “Unknown” has one of those ‘haunting’ melodies that really sticks with you, as well as an excellent building chord progression that keeps reaching upwards. For a jazz album, the playing on many cuts is a bit restrained, but always creative and thoughtful. Joshua Redman always impresses with his sense of melody in improvisation.

I’m not sure on the intended target audience here, some jazz fans may balk at the simple rock beats on some tracks, while other tunes get a little more abstract than what the average rock listener is used to. I suppose the jam band fan who wants to move up to something a little more jazzy could see “City Folk” as a gateway. Also, those who like the music of Brad Mehldau and other similar contemporary piano trios will understand where this band is coming from with their moody indie rock influences. Overall, this is a good contemporary jazz CD, just don’t expect to get blown away by anything too dramatic, “City Folks” is more about careful creativity than fireworks.

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