Bryan and the Aardvarks, “Tiny Skull Sized Kingdom” from Sounds From The Deep Field (2017): Something Else! exclusive stream

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A band named ‘Bryan and the Aardvarks’ suggests its leader’s Texas roots but the music they make speaks to the entire world. Sounds From The Deep Field is the second long player from bassist and composer Bryan Copeland’s ensemble and this Biophilia Records product will drop on April 28, 2017.

Bryan and the Aardvarks features a formidable lineup; Copeland is joined by vibes ace Chris Dingman, drummer Joe Nero and our recent interview subject Fabian Almazan on piano. At least, that’s how Bryan and the Aardvarks started out, because now Copeland has added saxophonist Dayna Stephens (on EWI), vocalist Camila Meza and guitarist Jesse Lewis.

Inspired by the incomprehensible vastness of the universe and our infinitesimally small place in it, the 10 Bryan and the Aardvarks originals comprising Sounds From The Deep Field are intended, in Copeland’s words, to be “equal parts an epic-scale modern jazz adventure, stargazing sonic dreamscape, and soundtrack for a non-existent science fiction film.” But no worries, this music is quite earthbound.

An agreeable alchemy of folk, rock and jazz that to many will call to mind Brian Blade’s Fellowship — even Lewis’ guitar largely portrays Kurt Rosenwinkel’s — but also point to Copeland’s advanced sense of harmony that has a knack for reaching out to embrace you rather than sit in place to behold from afar.

Bryan and the Aardvarks’ “Tiny Skull Sized Kingdom” premiering in the embedded stream above is one of those agreeable slices from The Deep Field. The wordless vocal of Meza unites alternately with Lewis’ guitar and Almazan’s piano to form a chiming melodic line. Almazan’s comping is the high caliber stuff people have come to expect from him and the mood modulations from Lewis’ guitar eventually moves to the fore to direct the evolving character of Copeland’s inviting jazz-rock exploit.

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