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The Supporting Theory by Blowout

Supporting Theory is the debut recording from the west coast jazz sextet (3 horns plus rhythm section) who’ve dubbed themselves "Blowout". These proficient, young jazz players show themselves to be quite stylistically ambitious, as ‘Theory’ contains music which, at turns, could be referred to with wildly varying terms: free, straight-ahead, 3rd stream, pop-ish, avant-garde, etc.... Oftentimes, being so stylistically scattered is a sign of artistic immaturity, but this is not the case with Blowout. It’s a sign of ambition. But this brand of ambition comes with its own unique set of obstacles. It’s a slippery slope and the range of success to failure is a broad spectrum. ‘Theory’ falls somewhere near the center of this spectrum.

The 1st two tracks represent much of the good, the bad, and the ugly of this recording. The harmonies of the 3-part horn writing are very idiosyncratic and often "un-schooled" sounding, which often works to their advantage giving them a quirky, unique edge. At other times, however, the dissonances in the writing seem unintended and random giving them a "something wrong, something not quite right" feel (J. Morrison reference intended), like the writer isn’t sure what he’s trying to say.

On the other hand, most of the playing is reasonably assured. Alto saxophonist Aaron Bennett and trombonist Rob Ewing are standouts. Solos by both of these young men are well thought out, with high energy and excellent tone. Also worth mentioning are bassist Aaron Germain and drummer Jason Levis who make a nimble rhythm section pairing navigating some of the music’s relatively intricate forms with seeming ease.

The factors making this recording merely good and not excellent are more likely related to plate tectonics or erosion than anything else. If the group sticks it out long enough, the passing of time will likely cause one or two things to happen: shifts in the group’s surface will cause disparate continents to come together forming a more unified whole; or the sands of time will brush away the un-necessary debris to expose a more valuable stone.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Blowout
  • CD Title: The Supporting Theory
  • Genre: Contemporary Jazz / Modern
  • Year Released: 2004
  • Record Label: LifeForceJazz Records
  • Tracks: Miniature, Duplicity, Baby Be Mine, Degueulasse, Ring Around The Collar, Tin Foil Is Not Soft, Solid Brass Numchuk, Nothing But Trouble and The Partisan
  • Musicians: Brian Moran (7 string guitar), Aaron Bennett (alto and baritone sax), Zach Pitt-Smith (tenor sax and flute), Rob Ewing (trombone), Aaron Germain (acoustic and electric bass), Jason Levis (drums)
  • Rating: Two Stars
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