Hearing Aide: JAZZ IS PHSH ‘We Never Spoke A Word’
Get ready for the Chase Brothers to take your ears by storm. JAZZ IS PHSH, founded in 2015 by Adam and Matthew Chase, are releasing their debut album, He Never Spoke A Word, on March 3. The group is well known for having an ever-revolving cast of musicians joining in during shows. The concept behind JAZZ IS PHSH is that an instrumental jazz feel is brought to Phish songs, leaving plenty of room for exploration and improvisation on stage. Stacked with special guests throughout, including Kofi Burbridge, Jonathan Scales, Chris DeAngelis, Holly Bowling, and Carl Gerhard to name a few, twists and turns of musical delight await. Hold on to your seat, or not, as the album is broken down track by track.
“Ghost” quietly tip toes into the melody with gentle steel pan and keys leading the way. Rich and airy flute meander their way through the tune, as warm keys float along with deep bass tones. This breezy song is a classy start to an album full of joyful music. Trumpet, trombone and sax meet up to fill out the melody as if it’s a cocktail party, with each musical instrument socializing with others before all meeting up in the same room to toast in celebration. The champagne has been popped and the album is off to a glorious start.
Now that the listener is in a relaxed state, “Cars Trucks and Buses,” steps things up as horns kick into gear, and bass slaps remain a constant. Trombone bending notes fill out midway, only to hand things off to the tenor sax before the other instruments join in on the fun. “Weigh” holds a beat that insists on movement. That slide trombone reaches out and begs to take the listener by the hand to the dance floor. Close your eyes and it’s easy to forget this a jazz interpretation of a Phish song. Rockin’ guitar chords step in for a brief moment, without losing the calm mood that lingers along.
“Foam” is a combination of melodies dancing around each other, but never losing sight of the core undertones. Lighthearted steel pans, coupled with sax, jazz the hell out of this track, imploring listeners to get those feet tapping forward and back to the beat. Up and down, around and around, the kaleidoscopic rhythm flows without hesitation, as guitar intertwines for the duration. A sunshine lit song, this is one to play repeatedly on rainy days to lift the spirit and soothe the soul.
Switching gears, “46 Days” takes off with heavy bass bombs, crunchy guitar, and funky keys. Easy trumpet paces its way early on before handing off the beat to the guitar for layered, soulful chords. Don’t be surprised if this jam creates visions of riding in a Cadillac with the top down, rolling down the strip in Vegas, without a care in the world. Don’t break that vision yet, as “Dog Log” busts onto the scene with a muted trumpet, creating a smooth blend of piano, sax, and trumpet as they join in full force. The silky drums on the backend hold the tune together while explorations on horns take charge. This track brings the listener back into Phish, but only for a moment, before the band takes off into jazzy directions full of zest.
The stereotypical feel of a jazz club, complete with half empty whiskey glasses and ever present cigar smoke, takes hold as “Lawn Boy” makes it’s entrance. Seductive guitar tones fill the air, as teasing trumpet and sexy sax traipse along. “Meat” pulls the listener out of that smokey club and back onto the dance floor to sway along with a partner. Snapping out of the leisurely melodies, “Camel Walk” takes the listener on an energetic ride. Jazzy guitar, followed by warm trombone, carry the majority of the track. Towards the end, a switch up occurs with the beat, the key, and the variety of instruments that bring the track to a solid close.
Throwing it back to the jazz era, “Magilla” throws splashes of images reminiscent of backroom speakeasies. Feet that can’t stop dancing to the quick tempo come alive. The trumpet flits about the melody, as the saxophone darts in and out of the notes, producing a colorful creation of tones that chase each other as the jazzed up number swirls along. Closing out the album, a jazzy jam sandwich featuring “Alumni Blues>Letter To Jimmy Page>Alumni Blues” wraps up the musical journey in style. Free flowing flute slide around, bouncing in and out of the horns, keys, and guitar tones, cooling down the listener and taking the music full circle.
Overall, He Never Spoke A Word is brimming with colorful imagery drawn out by the improvisational melodies and experimental tones, having fun with each song. It’s easy to forget that this album is stacked with jazz interpretations of Phish songs, with hints here and there reminding the listener of the true beginnings of each tune.
For Phish fans who’ve never been truly introduced to jazz, and for jazz fans that are unfamiliar with Phish, this is the perfect cross over album for fans of both, as well as lovers of music in general. He Never Spoke A Word truly reaches admirers of music across the board, both young and old alike. This is perfect accompaniment music for any occasion and would fit well in everyone’s musical catalog.
For more information regarding JAZZ IS PHSH, along with tour dates and their debut album, please visit their official website.
Key Tracks: Foam, Lawn Boy, Magilla