Aaron Comess – Blues for Use (2014)

He might be best known in rock circles as a founding member of the Spin Doctors, but Aaron Comess has long ran on a parallel course focusing on jazz and blues — collaborating with Brad Meldau, Roy Hargrove and Robert Glasper along the way.

2011′s Beautiful Mistake, which arrived just as his main band was in the run up to a terrific comeback project, found the multi-talented drummer boldly asserting himself outside of their 1990s-era hitmaking circles. Blues for Use, due May 6, 2014 goes one step further, and then another — and another.

From the intriguing arithmatic of “Hard Ball” to the anthemic revelations of “Guilty Until Proven Innocent,” from the gruff attitude of “Gorilla” to the faintly country-ish ruminations of “Moonrise,” Comess leads a bold charge out of roots conventions too, right into something as free-form and fizzy as it can be.

Collaborating with guitarist Teddy Kumpel and bassist Richard Hammond, Comess continues to grow by leaps and bounds, not just as a band leader in his own right but as a composer of endlessly fascinating instrumental excursions. Blues for Use isn’t, in fact, blues, rock or jazz — or, really, any one thing for long, and therein lies its intrigue.

It’s not just that this couldn’t be any further from “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong.” It’s that the endlessly fascinating Blues for Use couldn’t be further away from any convention whatsoever.

Aaron Comess is scheduled to play a ‘Blues for Use’ album-release concert on May 9, 2014 at Rockwood Music Hall in New York City.

Nick DeRiso

Over a 30-year career, Nick DeRiso has also explored music for USA Today, All About Jazz, Ultimate Classic Rock and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the nation by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Contact him at nderiso@somethingelsereviews.com.