Half Notes: Ro Sham Beaux – Ro Sham Beaux (2012)

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Photo by Lauren Desburg

Sprung from classmates at the well-regarded New England Conservatory of Music, Ro Sham Beaux, est. 2009, is a Boston based band that, in a rarity for a fusion jazz ensemble, takes the “band” word seriously: they operate as a true cooperative. This quartet made up of Zac Shaiman (sax, effects), Luke Marantz (keys), Oliver Watkinson (bass) and Jacob Cole (drums, glockenspiel) let their collective compositions do the improvising. With cagey tempo and chord progressions opeating within the bounds of pop sensibilities, Ro Sham Beaux appeals to both sides of the brain. From the indie rock stomp of “Bearblade” to the moody, humorously titled “Meatballs Are The Way to A Women’s Heart,” Ro Sham Beaux might even be considered alt rock if Shaiman’s sax was a voice instead, but with the intellect of Steely Dan. Even on the gentler tunes, like the engagin “Town” (Youtube below), you can find that edge in their sound lurking amongst the pretty melody. Their intelligent blend of jazz and modern rock doesn’t necessarily sound like anyone else, but Rudder comes closest to mind…and I rather like Rudder. With the self-titled debut album, this band got off on the good foot.

Ro Sham Beaux released March 13 on Red Piano Records. Visit Ro Sham Beaux’s website.

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S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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