By Edward Kliszus
NEW YORK – Arthur Kell Speculation Quartet at Smalls Jazz Club
Jazz lovers will want to see and hear the Arthur Kell Speculation Quartet. With the opening sounds tonight at the fabulous Smalls Jazz Club set in Manhattan’s West Village, one sensed 50 years of evolution of fusion first expressed by Chick Corea, Gary Burton, and Wayne Shorter. Check out Miles Davis’s albums like Bitches Brew and In a Silent Way.
Adding to the excitement, tonight’s songs came from the creative pen of Arthur Kell, composer and bassist extraordinaire. The music was powerful, driving, energetic, and, when needed, intensely pensive and melodic, as demonstrated in the song Speculation.
The Speculation Quartet, with two electric guitars, drums, and bass, all performed by virtuoso artists, seamlessly blended elements of traditional jazz with rock, funk, and other genres – they effectively blurred the lines between jazz and other musical forms. While the Quartet followed conventional song structures, like starting and ending each work with the head and improvising over the form and changes in between, they explored possibilities for artistic expression and experimentation with crisp sophistication and aplomb.
These cats have major chops, with hands and fingers moving at whirlwind speed. With lightning-fast runs, intricate chord progressions, and expressive phrasing, these jazz masters captured the attention and respect of the full house audience both in attendance and watching the live stream.
The Arthur Kell Speculation Quartet pushed the boundaries of jazz tonight. They incorporated electronic, rock, and world music elements into Kell’s compositions. Kell’s unique, fresh, new sounds were characterized by intricate rhythms, freely chromatic harmonies and dissonances, and improvisational solos. They ensured a sonic landscape exclusive to contemporary jazz fusion.
Using technology in the performance process added to the dimensions of sound, allowing for sonic manipulation and textural experimentation. And despite the sophistication and complexity of Kell’s works, his fusion jazz remains rooted in the traditions and history of jazz, highlighting the enduring legacy of a genre that explores sonic frontiers.
Arthur Kell Speculation Quartet at Smalls Jazz Club
183 W 10th St
New York, NY 10014, USA
Readers may also enjoy our reviews of Orrin Evans at Birdland, the Tony Kadleck Big Band at Birdland, Ben Wendel Quartet at the Village Vanguard, Seth Sikes Come a Little Closer, David Jackson at 54Below, Trombonist Marshall Gilkes, and Insomnia.