Kneebody Blue Cranes Friday, November 8 Alberta St. Pub 1036 NE Alberta St Portland, OR 97211 (503) 284-7665 7pm doors (open for dinner) 9pm show 21+ $15 advance ($12 students/working artists) Sliding Scale $15 to $20 day of
"There isn't a handy term of genre for the music that Kneebody creates. It's a band thoroughly acquainted with 1960s free-bop, 1970s jazz rock, 1990s hip-hop and postmillennial indie rock; along with classical postminimalism. (I'm leaving something out, I'm sure.) Whatever the terminology, this group has an audience" - New York Times
"Putting a finger on a band like Kneebody is a bit like raising it to the wind. At any given moment, the group's artistic inclinations can whip in an unpredictable direction." Wall Street Journal
"the band has always had the same lineup, honing its vision into something that hovers in the worlds of jazz and rock while tossing in other genre elements, as well." Spinner
"It's probably safe to assume at this point that no other band working today can offer what Kneebody delivered at the Blue Whale on Friday night." Los Angeles Times
Kneebody's sound is explosive rock energy paralleled with high-level nuanced chamber ensemble playing, with highly wrought compositions that are balanced with adventurous no-holds-barred improvising. All "sounds-like" references can be set aside; this band has created a genre and style all its own.
Kneebody bassist Kaveh Rastegar thinks of their sound this way, "Personally, I think calling Kneebody "jazz" or "electric jazz" is fantastic because then we can move on from that hang up and play our music and alter expectations of what 'jazz' is."
Kneebody is keyboardist Adam Benjamin, trumpeter Shane Endsley, electric bassist Kaveh Rastegar, saxophonist Ben Wendel and drummer Nate Wood. The band has no leader or rather, each member is the leader; they've developed their own musical language, inventing a unique cueing system that allows them each to change the tempo, key, style, and more in an instant.
The quintet met in their late teens while at The Eastman School of Music and Cal Arts, became fast friends, and converged together as Kneebody amid the vibrant and eclectic music scene of Los Angeles in 2001. Since then, each band member has amassed an impressive list of credits and accomplishments over the years all while the band has continued to thrive and grow in reputation, solidifying a fan base around the world.
"We are a democratic, equally owned-and-operated band with shared leadership," says Shane Endsley. "Everyone brings in music and everyone votes on everything. And it's always been just the five of us."
Kneebody draws upon influences spanning D'Angelo's Voodoo to music by Elliot Smith, Bill Frisell, and Miles Davis. Their live shows are known for intense sonic landscapes of the Radiohead ilk, for the rhythmic bombast of a Squarepusher or Queens of the Stone Age show, and the harmonic depth and improvisational freedom experienced at a Brad Mehldau concert.
In 2005, Kneebody released their debut self-titled album Kneebody on Dave Douglas' Greenleaf Music Label. Low Electrical Worker followed in 2007 on the Colortone Label. A collection of 13 original songs, Low Electrical Worker was hailed by saxophonist Joshua Redman as one of his "favorite albums of 2007." In the spring of 2009, Kneebody and vocalist Theo Bleckmann released 12 Songs of Charles Ives on the Winter & Winter label and received a GRAMMY nomination in the "classical crossover" category. Their third studio album is You Can Have Your Moment. Kneebody makes their Concord Records debut with the release of their fourth album, The Line.
"A truly unconventional approach to improvised music." - WNYC
"Rich melodies and dynamic interplay." - LOS ANGELES TIMES
"Hooky melodies and strong backbeats." - CHICAGO READER
"Jarringly dissonant... poignant, soulful and reassuring." - JAZZ TIMES
"One of Portland's brightest lights... evoking post-rock icons Sigur Ros and Godspeed You! Black Emperor." - DOWNBEAT
"A force of nature." - NPR
"Joyous interplay." - UTNE READER
"Rocks harder than most rock albums and says more than most singer-songwriters--without any words at all." - WILLAMETTE WEEK
Since their formation in 2007, Blue Cranes have become a key player in the Portland, Oregon creative music/DIY scene and one of the most exciting groups to keep tabs on in the Northwest. They've developed a singular musical voice grounded in melody and explosive improvisations--marking off their unique microcosmic territory in post-jazz circles.
The members of the quintet--Reed Wallsmith on alto saxophone, Joe Cunningham on tenor saxophone, Rebecca Sanborn on keyboards, Jon Shaw on bass, and Ji Tanzer on drums--bring a unique array of experiences to their group-centered aesthetic, including work with AU, The Decemberists, Laura Veirs, Wayne Horvitz, Rebecca Gates, Laura Gibson, Ethan Rose, Ezra Weiss, Black Prairie, and Portland Cello Project.
In June 2013, the band took an evolutionary step forward with the release of Swim, their fourth full-length album, on the Washington, D.C.-based Cuneiform Records. Swim is a departure from Blue Cranes' previous, and in some ways simpler, albums. Steered dutifully by producer Nate Query of The Decemberists, it is a window into the sometimes messy emotional space of a group struggling with and celebrating the ephemeralness of life. This work is the culmination of several between-album projects, including a 30-day crowd-sourced Amtrak train tour in 2011, and a seven day group composition retreat, supported in part by a grant from Portland's Regional Arts and Culture Council. However, the heart of Swim lies in indelibly profound life events--the passing away of two dear friends, a serious injury, two weddings, and the birth of a child--events at tragic and uplifting extremes, both cathartic and celebratory.
Alberta Street Public House (View)
1036 NE Alberta St
Portland, OR 97211