Independent jazz group Quick Quartet is working to make its mark in the jazz community this year. The group – Jason Quick (guitar), Zac Kreuz (drums), J. Ronquillo (electric bass), Ben Wolkins (trumpet), and Ben Maloney (keyboards) – is doing so through its new album Low Rent Space, released Thursday through Quick’s own label, Jason Quick’s Music Production. Yes, there are five musicians listed. The thing is that Wolkins and Maloney only performed on certain tracks, limiting the group to a quartet in each song. Ergo, the group’s name does fit. Now having that explained, the eight-song record does well to entertain listeners throughout its 52-minute run time due in part to its featured musical arrangements. They will be discussed shortly. The production thereof adds its own touch to the presentation. It will be discussed a little later. The liner notes add slightly more to the album’s presentation, too, and will also be discussed later. When it is noted along with the record’s featured songs and their production, that whole of Low Rent Space proves itself worth hearing at least occasionally.
Quick Quartet’s new album Low Rent Space is a presentation that most jazz fans will agree deserves its own space in their music libraries. That is proven in part through the record’s featured musical arrangements. The arrangements in question show a certain amount of diversity from one to the next. Quick’s own performance throughout lends itself to comparisons to other even more well-known jazz guitarists, such as Wes Montgomery and Charlie Montgomery just to name a couple of similarities. Wolkins’ performance meanwhile finds itself comparable to works from legendary trumpet player Miles Davis. The Wes Montgomery comparison comes right in the album’s outset in its title track. The laid back, easy-going licks against Kreuz’s semi-hip-hop style drumming makes that song even more interesting. The Miles Davis comparison noted in examining Wolkins’ work comes immediately after in ‘Strange Waltz’ and again, later, in ‘Vultures Wear Disguises.’ The other musicians who worked on this record deserve their own attention, of course. These songs in question are simply among the most notable of the arrangements to exemplify why the songs featured in this record are important to note. Some of them, as noted, are comparable to performances from some far more well-known jazz figures, but still boast their own identities.
In the bigger picture of the songs, it has already been noted that they present their own identities, and that is true from the record’s start to its end. There is some cool jazz here, as well as some blues-based jazz, and even some more easy-listening style jazz. The blues-based jazz comes in the form of ‘Durty Bird Blues’ while the cool jazz approach is most evident in ‘Strange Waltz.’ There is even some bop influence mixed into the album’s title track. Between these noted songs and the others that make up the rest of the album’s body, the whole makes clear that there is at least some diversity here in terms of the jazz styles presented in the arrangements. That diversity, along with the ability to make at least some comparisons to works from some of the group’s more well-known jazz counterparts makes for a strong foundation for the album. It is just one part of what makes the album worth hearing. The production of the record’s featured arrangements gives listeners more reason to give the presentation a chance.
The production of the songs featured in Quick Quartet’s new album is important to note because of its impact on the record’s general effect. In listening through the album from beginning to end, listeners will note in this record that the production gives the arrangements some thing of a “raw” sound. It is not that spit-shined, perfected studio sound that one might expect from a studio recording. That might have been the purpose, in noting the record’s liner notes, which themselves will be discussed later. The notes make a point to comment on the halting of live music. The notes do not come out and state that the intent was to give the record a live sense, but one cannot help but make that assumption considering that statement. The live feel is, again, most notable through the drums and guitar work. The richness in the toms and the snare just sounds so full. It does not sound like it has been relegated to the rear as drum line so often end up. The guitar even has a sound that comes across as being not fine tuned. It’s that sort of what you see is what you get sort of sound. It makes for a nice, unique presentation. Even in a song, such as ‘Durty Bird Blues,’ the subtle echo effect that is used – and clearly the placement of the instruments’ microphones – gives that song a sense of what it would sound like live. It is yet another example of how the production used here gave the album a welcome live touch, even being a studio recording. Keeping all of this in mind, the production in whole clearly proves itself key to the album’s presentation, too. That production work and the very construction of the arrangements collectively joins to make even more reason for audiences to hear the record. It is just one more way in which the record proves itself to be a positive work. The liner notes featured in the record’s companion booklet round out its most important elements.
The liner notes that accompany Low Rent Space are important to the album’s presentation because of the background that they offer audiences. Again, the liner notes find Quick pointing out early on, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on live music. The liner notes never come out and say that the impact played into the record’s sound, but certainly does make that inference. That itself is certain to generate its own share of discussion among audiences. The liner notes also give background on the songs, which itself will create its own engagement and entertainment. One of the most intriguing pieces of background info that is provided through the liner notes is that of the basis for ‘Bitter Beast.’ Sure, plenty of bands out there have paid tribute to alcohol and specific alcohol brands, but few jazz outfits have done such. To that end, for Quick Quartet to do so makes this approach and song unique. Audiences will be left here to learn more for themselves when they purchase the album. Listeners additionally receive some music theory of sorts in the notes about ‘Flippin,’ ‘Strange Waltz’ and ‘Bitter Beast.’ There is even some light hearted commentary about ‘Illusion’ and ‘Vultures Wear Disguises’ here, too. All things considered, the liner notes offer just as much to appreciate in this recording as the album’s primary content. Taking that into the mind, the whole of the album proves itself well worth hearing at least once.
Quick Quartet’s new album Low Rent Space is a presentation that jazz fans will agree deserves at least some space in their music libraries. That is proven in part through its featured arrangements. The arrangements touch on at least some swath of jazz styles while also likening themselves to works from some of the group’s more well-known counterparts. The production of those works plays into the record’s appeal, too. That is because while the album is a studio recording, the production gives the record a distinct live sound. It makes the listening experience that much more unique. The record’s liner notes put the finishing touch to the album, completing the presentation. That is due to the information that they provide on the songs. Each item noted is important to the album’s presentation in its own way. All things considered, they make the album a work that jazz fans will find worth hearing at least once. It is available now. More information on Low Rent Space is available along with all of Quick Quartet’s latest news at:
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