One of the first things I noticed when I listened to the Industrial Jazz Group’s CD entitled Industrial Jazz A Go Go was the band’s propensity towards improvisation and spontaneity. I came to realize this; what sounded like total chaos in the midst of a china shop, would soon reveal a finely tuned well-oiled interactive ensemble. Conceived in 2000 by composer Andrew Durkin, the Industrial Jazz Group is a montage of varying styles, each jumping out at the most unsuspecting of times. Collectively, this unusual group of improvisational gurus has all the trappings of disenfranchised eccentricity; however, when they come together under one sound, excitement and order appears out of nowhere. At various times, the band can feature as many as 18 aggregates consisting of brass, reeds, vocalists, drums, dancers and practitioners of the spoken word. Their music is rather encompassing; possessing a variety attributes, putting them in constant demand throughout California, Nevada, Texas, New York, New Jersey and Delaware. In addition, they have received any number of accolades and have garnered critical acclaim in publications throughout the United States. With each and every encounter, the Industrial Jazz Group experience is beyond comprehension. Their latest CD continues a formula that has virtually gone unchanged during their six years together. Their talent is one that is fun-filled and fueled by a myriad of polyphonic compositions.
Industrial Jazz A Go Go is the fourth release from a band that could be billed as "the greatest show on earth." The CD features ten sound activated musicians, all driven by varying influences that includes classical, Latin, rock, R&B, jazz and whatever style of music they may feel like playing at any given moment. From the very first track to the last, the Industrial Jazz Group appears to have no direction, due in part to their music seemingly coming from everywhere. With pianist Andrew Durkin at the helm, a seven-piece horn and a three-piece rhythm section is the force pushing the album forward. The music is then augmented by intermittent solos, offbeat rhythms and over exaggerated themes. One thing is apparent in the midst of what appears to be total chaos is this band can definitely play; in addition, if I had to describe their music precisely, it would be jazz with a twist of avant-garde.
Although the Industrial Jazz Group may be bound by the unusual, they do have a strong innate sense of style about their music. Lying on the cusp of eccentricity is not always bad, as long as the music being offered has value beyond the commonality of mere extremism. When avant-garde specialists Sun Ra, Charles Lloyd, Eric Dolphy and Ornette Coleman came calling, jazz was turned upside down to say the least. But by today’s standards individuals such as they are considered innovators. The Industrial Jazz Group is merely blazing a path of their own creation with a degree of originality seldom seen by a cadre of sanitized jazz extremists we see today. In the final analysis, I can honestly say kudos to a band that is definitely continuing a process of enlightenment and illumination. In my mind, that is a formula that has been put aside by many smooth jazz artists and radio stations we hear today.