Album Review: The Chronicles self-titled debut

The Chronicles released a self-titled disc back in December, but worthy of a few accolades especially with follow-up,  Live from the Massry Center for the Arts, out this week.

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A mostly instrumental exploration of various jazz concepts infused with hip-hop and funk, The Chronicles bring us a soul soup that hits the spot. All the spots.  The Chronicles is a unique blend of highs and lows, sometimes frightening, sometimes joyful, sometimes serious and, at other times, playful.  The Chronicles is a disc fitting for just about every occasion in the amalgamation of life.

The disc opens with someone flipping through the channels and lands on “Purple Diesel.” An attention grabbing blast of sassy horns gives way to a quieter rhythm, then back around to the horns. Throughout the disc, this six man ensemble successfully fuse their various artistic backgrounds into a tangible form that magically seeps into the mind, body and soul. Bryan Brundige (trombone), Jeff Nania (saxophonist), Andrae Surgick (drums), Daniel Lawson (bass), and Justin Henricks (guitar) marvelously compliment each other’s musical style ultimately playing out on an eight-song disc that will warm you from the inside out.

If that doesn’t hit the spot (yet it will) then surely occasional guest vocalist Kendra Jones will do just that in “Rain Drops.” Composed by trumpeter and guest player, Phil Chow, the song starts out one way but subtly changes over the duration of about eight minutes; it’s unrecognizable by the end.  Jones’ vocals are layered and the horn is somewhere in the back, giving us a sense of a forlorn soul walking the beat of row houses in the rain.  Jones shows up again on “I Wanna Sing,” and “Music Comes Alive.”

Closing the disc with New Orleans flavored wah-wah-wah and weighted down in an ironic and amusing song titled “Triumph.” One could only imagine trudging-down-the-street-ho-hum emotion this song provokes.  No matter the pleasure (or the pain) there is a comfort brought about in listening from start to finish.

Key Tracks: Purple Diesel, Rain Drops, Triumph