Bonzo Terks – Quartet
Saturday November 17th Bonzo Terks releases their newest album, Quartet. The album will be available at the release show as well as future dates, and also through Band Camp via lungbasket.com (link)
I had the chance to sit down with the album a little bit in advance to get a feel for the sound and also had a chance to shoot some emails back and forth with interview questions for the band. For starters I was introduced to the band in 2010 when I saw them play at Putnam Co. Music and Arts Festival. I approached the trio after their set because their sound was so unique and original. Luc and myself have remained in contact since that first meeting. As of November 2011 Bonzo became a quartet including new saxaphonist Keenan Foly, Danny Van Duerm on keys, Dan Clark on drums, and Luc Parcell on bass. The addition of Keenan to the band really fills out the sound and permits new ways of expression within the conversation.
My first immediate impression to Quartet was jazz. When speaking to the guys about this though I realized that I wasn’t alone, and that if I listened closer jazz was certainly not the only style or influence I could hear in the music. Song like ZolaRita and Song for Paradise had heavy funk influences that made very danceable rhythms, Xanxabar had a very progressive and building quality, I sensed a little bit of Salsa in BudAbbott, and SodaJerk as well as RiverMonster had a very traditional abstract jazz feeling to them. To say the very least this makes the group very well rounded. It was as if hearing instrumental music immediately attached the connotation of jazz to the music in my mind. Luc later told me “we don’t mind being thrown in that category, it’s just that we aren’t trying to play jazz. We’re trying to play Bonzo Terks.” Now that’s an attitude and way of thinking I can get behind.
When I asked the guys about their creative process Keenan said the process reminds him of an exquisite corpse. Which if you’re unfamiliar is the process of each member adding something new to what the previous member had added. What’s neat about exquisite corpse is that an idea starts to evolve from the many instead of from just one. With this approach to writing music it becomes more clear within the sound from the group. The group has even taken some of their old material from being a trio and added Kenaan’s voice to the conversation.
This well rounded group of musicians deserves all the love and respect they get from being all around friendly guys to putting on a hell of a show these guys are true musicians. If you’ve not seen them, you need to. If you’ve already had the pleasure of seeing Bonzo Terks then I encourage you to pick up the album and get out to one of their shows, or even the release show tonight at Jerry’s in Chicago.