Kneebody’s sound is… explosive rock energy paralleled with high-level nuanced chamber ensemble playing, with highly wrought compositions that are balanced with adventurous no-holds-barred improvising. All “sounds-like” references can be set aside; this band has created a genre and style all its own.
Kneebody bassist Kaveh Rastegar thinks of their sound this way, “Personally, I think calling Kneebody ‘jazz’ or ‘electric jazz’ is fantastic because then we can move on from that hang up and play our music – and alter expectations of what ‘jazz’ is.”
Kneebody is keyboardist Adam Benjamin, trumpeter Shane Endsley, electric bassist Kaveh Rastegar, saxophonist Ben Wendel and drummer Nate Wood. The band has no leader or rather, each member is the leader; they’ve developed their own musical language, inventing a unique cueing system that allows them each to change the tempo, key, style, and more in an instant.
Kneebody draws upon influences spanning D’Angelo’s Voodoo to music by Elliot Smith, Bill Frisell, and Miles Davis. Their live shows are known for intense sonic landscapes of the Radiohead ilk, for the rhythmic bombast of a Squarepusher or Queens of the Stone Age show, and the harmonic depth and improvisational freedom experienced at a Brad Mehldau concert.
In 2005, Kneebody released their debut self-titled album Kneebody on Dave Douglas’ Greenleaf Music Label. Low Electrical Worker followed in 2007 on the Colortone Label. A collection of 13 original songs, Low Electrical Worker was hailed by saxophonist Joshua Redman as one of his “favorite albums of 2007.” In the spring of 2009, Kneebody and vocalist Theo Bleckmann released 12 Songs of Charles Ives on the Winter & Winter label and received a Grammy Award nomination in the “classical crossover” category. 2013 saw the release of The Line for Concord Records. In 2015, Kneebody’s groundbreaking collaboration with electronic musician Daedelus on Kneedelus was released on Flying Lotus’ imprint Brainfeeder records to praise from critics and audiences alike. Kneebody made their Motéma Music debut album Anti-Hero in March of 2017.
Photo Credit: Tarona
Mark Guiliana’s Beat Music
Still in his early thirties, drummer/composer Mark Guiliana, is at the forefront of top drummers in the world for creating an entirely new vernacular on the instrument – blending virtuosic skills on acoustic drums alongside electronic elements and processing. The New York Times recognized Guiliana as “a drummer around whom a cult of admiration has formed.” Guiliana’s prowess, conceptual approach and unmistakable sound were recently featured in Blackstar, the critically and commercially acclaimed final studio recording from the late David Bowie. Over the past decade, Guiliana has recorded and toured around the world with artists including Brad Mehldau, Meshell Ndegeocello, Gretchen Parlato, Avishai Cohen (bass), Matisyahu, Lionel Loueke, and his own groups, Beat Music and the Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet.
Time Out London sums him up perfectly: “What happens when you add hard bop drum masters Elvin Jones and Art Blakey to a 1980s Roland 808 drum machine, divide the result by J Dilla and then multiply to the power of Squarepusher? Answer: Mark Guiliana