music lovers, we often whine about our favorite artist being locked
into a box musically and how they’re not being creative and
constantly disappointing us. Are we willing to explore
new artist by expanding our knowledge base for fresh and innovate
music alternatives (?) Discovering new uncharted music
requires, being open and receptive to change from the
listeners’ perspective. One of the most intriguing discoveries for
2003 comes from a group called Blaze featuring Brannen
Temple the founder and drummer for the group. “Aural
Karate” is the most recording by the Austin, TX natives Blaze;
theirlatest conquest is in pursuit of the groove wrapped
in the garment of inventiveness and creative energy. Temple and
company explores an accelerating menu of jazz, hip-hop and beyond
transcending the norm of today’s music with finesse.
Players: Ephraim Owens ~ Trumpet and effects Pedal, Michael
Malone ~ Tenor & Soprano Sax with effects /EWI, Marc Miller
~ Acoustic Bass w/effects pedal, NickNack ~ Turntables and Brannen
Temple~ Drums, Samples and Percussion. Guest musicians: Steven
Snyder ~ Acoustic Piano, Dave Palmer ~ Wurlitzer [tracks 2,
7] Pocket Therimen , Marty Muse ~ Pedal Steel Guitar
, Jason McKenzie ~ Tabla 
opens the set with hip retro vibe. Brannen Temple steps in
kickin’ funky grooves on his kit creating the perfect environment
for accessibility. Marc Miller promptly adapts harmonically
keeping time with his acoustic bass while trumpeter Ephraim Owens
solos (with effects) are precisely what the good doctor ordered &
saxophonist MichaelMalone bridges the gaps with fluid
changes course with the jazz inflicted “Time’s Up”. I dig
it when artist flips the script musically creating a diverse platter
of incredibly delicious improvisation as the band eloquently exchange
solos leaving the listener savoring this moment while in the state of
Williams” falls in at the 3rd spot opening with a
hint of mid-eastern embodied melody. The band accentuates the passages
of improvisation borrowing from the school of Pharoah Sanders
songbook of aural persuasion. Blaze, attacks Sultan with
reverie, depth and conviction, they’re solos and interplay are
simply out of this world.
displays an astounding vocabulary individually as sidemen they’re
solos are provocatively amazing as demonstrated on “Mustard Seed”
(and all other tracks). The usage of strings coupled with Temple’s
drumming at the beginning of Mustard Seed followed by Owens superb
trumpet solos sets the tone and exceeds the limits of cool. Malone’s
saxophone solos are in tact while NickNacks spins and
scratches his turntables accurately shapes the tone of Mustard Seed.
fuses the elements of jazz and hip-hop with a piece called “Slip-N-Slide”.
They’re passion for the groove incomposes a dynamic force underneath
it all sonically and harmonically. They’re interplay shines with
brilliance therefore successfully achieving their goal of collectively
as a unit.
the impeccable stylings of pianist Steven Snyder. Conceptually
this tune is yet another substantial arrangement that cleverly
interweaves impressive solos by these accomplished musicians.
the seventh position is “Dig This” the band taps into the
hip-hop groove with a more then satisfying taste of jazz layering over
the top. Once mobilized by the essence of their groove you began too
embrace the boldness of this musical collective called Aural Karate.
dives deep into the heart of the Mississippi Delta with the
blues drenched “Septeletwan”, trumpeter Ephraim Owens interpretation
of the blues articulates with emotion and distinct tonality.
Saxophonist Michael Malone offers us passionate solos that are
more then appetizing and most definitely pleasing the most demanding
listeners. Guitarist Marty Muse assures us that we’re indeed
enveloped in the blues with his inspiring steel pedal guitar solos.
Karate” the title cut concludes this incredible journey with a
prelude that solidifies the emotion of the band, an ending with a
rumble of improvisational components accepting no substitutes!
isstrong and poised with attitude as a group and they’re new
record Aural Karate is very exciting record too listen too. I’m
still in awe by the phenomenal talent that Brannen Temple and
the band. Through the spirit of innovation with creatively structured
compositions, Blaze serves up a compelling and appetizing mix
of jazz, hip-hop and beyond therefore, making this band one to watch
out for now and in the future.
for jazz lovers sliced with a dose of hip-hop!