Instru Dash Mental (label)
27 March 2020 (released)
23 March 2020
The words “Jazz Fusion” can cause a very polarizing reaction. For the aficionados and musicians, it's a boon of overflowing creativity. For most, it's a style too nerdy and too complicated to bother exploring, tuned out after 5 seconds.
Indiana jazz collective #Bloomerangs are no doubt fusion purveyors, the frenzied virtuosic playing in all manner of odd scales and modes, freaky time signatures and at times no adherence to time at all. However, they have managed to temper this with some lessons from rock n roll. Bluesy hook riffs with swagger, balls-out breakdowns, and an affection for the psychedelic.
'Home' opens the album softly with a 'Won't You Be My Neighbour' vibe. 'Leaps and Bounds' brings in a briskly bustling swing. Guitarist Rodrigo Cotelo expertly employs volume swells to contribute to the racing effect. 'In Some Shape or Form' takes steps away from the blistering nerdy runs typical of jazz fusion combos, overlaying the locomotive rhythm underneath with a stridently confident bluesy sway. Even the bass solo, the oft-maligned section that usually showcases the bassist's incredible dexterity on the mammoth instrument but leaves the audience yawning, is fresh, dynamic, and alive. Stephan Lenthe takes the lead giving a slappy, conversational bass solo backed by the band providing a psychedelically transportive atmosphere for him to play around in. Although never kicking on distortion, Cotelo's feature on the track has more to do with Richie Blackmore than your standard be-boppin' jazz solo. In the end, everyone locks in for a boisterous yet slick finale.
Perhaps the most intriguing track is the odd-metered, spacey free jam 'Catch a Clue'. Led by a clap intro, the band descends into madness with the group locking in on a time-pushing groove while all manner of astrological noises swarm overhead. This unity dissipates and an untethered exploration in all directions erupts. A furiously nimble bass line catches the rocket as the brick-a-brack of erratic percussion feels like meteorites pelting and loose parts being stripped off the hull. The claps return to reunify as Cotelo flies with a soaring solo over the ever-shifting rhythm section. The rising and falling space noises make a comeback as we sail off into oblivion. This is a group firing on all cylinders, exploring the boundaries of what can be done with a quartet while still keeping it light and catchy and entertaining. There are several times in the track where it feels like the eccentric work of Danny Elfman.
The band continue to demonstrate their impressive range. In their “...And now for something completely different” moment on the album, 'Layers of Complexity' is a reprieve from the heady complex jazz with a quick 26-second banjo break. The sleek single 'S Mitchell St' seems like the fancy cocktail bar sandwiched between the honky-tonk and the underground psychedelic speakeasy with the far-out 'Change of Pace' bookending it. 'Mind Your F' takes us in yet another direction with the summery melodica intro transporting us to a warm evening on the boardwalk. Mellow Rhodes keys and a full, hearty toned bassline make you smell that fresh July air.
Moments and Fragments is a very apt title for this collection of diverse pieces that cover a wide range of moods and styles. We are not confined to one season or emotion or condition, we experience many. This record sews those fragmented moments into a symphony, in a kind of....fusion.