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  • Mmere Dane Group Live at The Spot Underground on January 14, 2015

Mmere Dane Group Live at The Spot Underground on January 14, 2015

Mmere Dane Group Live at The Spot Underground on January 14, 2015

From their facebook page.

Musicians- Riley Stockwell- Guitar, Marcus Monteiro- Sax, Sam Kurzontkowski- Double Bass, Tim Lee- Drumset, Ben Paulding- Percussion
Genre: Groove Based Jazz/World Music
Hometown: Holliston, MA

Footwear - Starts with horns and percussion. Imitation from guitar. A kind of a hard bop head in time. Bass joins with a repetitive part in 4 and improvisation begins with a sax solo. Bass solo. Percussion answering bass while drums stay on a groove. Sax joins on end of solo with echo effect on. Guitar solo. Hanging notes with reverse envelope interspersed with picked lines and occasional harmonies. The same melodic fragment at the end of the solo. Now the guitar plays the head. Drums fills and ends with guitar echoes.

The bulk of the song is modal over a two bar pattern. Inventive improvisation keeps this interesting. The group works together well answering each others ideas.

Life Of The Mind - Spacey intro. Free jazz influenced jam band. Percussive guitar part episode then into a groove like a latin clave. Guitar and sax play the head. In 7. And then 8. Improvisation over this 7 then 8 pattern held together by the bass. Guitar solo with tasteful wa wa. Kind of like funk played in time. Rhythmic episode and then the sax solo. Now the drummer is holding the beat with bass out. Guitar interlude on the head. Drum solo with the guitar holding the rhythm. Back to head. Guitar first and then with sax. A melodic variation and then with harmonies. Ends with a little fade.

Again a nice arrangement with a real head and a very short improvisational form. Using 7 then 8 time during the improv parts forces inventiveness and makes their sound different than a funk band.

West End Strut - Starts on the head. Again in time. Quickly into guitar solo before the time becomes obvious. Sax solo. Guitar chords supporting the solo. Echoes of fusion. Bebop sax solo. Head interlude. Guitar solo playing notes. I think the time is 4-2-4-4-2. Simple yet difficult to count. Catchy once you get it. Guitar moves out of notes into extended timbre then back to notes with some soaring. Signals the end of his solo with the head. Now the guitar plays some bebop figures in a solo extension. And the head. Drum solo with rhythnmic background from percussion, bass and guitar. Out on the head.

Again a short unusual pattern. This time it persists throughout the piece.

The Green Dragon - Very melodic intro. Then a 4 bar 3/4 pattern. Surprisingly complex with a latin tinge. Guitar solo. Sometimes the time shifts to 4 and 2. A melodic figure signals the bass. Guitar and sax play head over bass. The melodic fragment starts the sax solo. Time continues to shift relying on the bass pattern for definition. Drums soloing behind the sax solo. Now they are working together rhythmically. Ends on this rhythmic high point.

An original by Riley Stockwell that sounds more like late 20th century jazz then funk/jam jazz. I get the feeling that this is a very simple arrangement with a lot of room for variation from performance to performance.

Five Of Swords - Strong feel of five but hard to count. Extended head/intro and then guitar solo playing lines against the complex bass pattern. Ok, I'm counting this in 10. But more like 4-2-2-2 than 5-5. After the solo the guitar plays with the bass and there is a drum feature. What further complicates the 10 beat rhythm is that it starts on 2. Ends on this riff over drums.

This band is obviously into playing in time but they manage to do this with substantial variation and considerable groove.

Morning Talks - This original by Sam Kurzontkowski is very much in the fusion vein. Melodic extended head followed by a bass solo. Spacey guitar high ringing chords at the end of the bass solo and then sax and guitar call and response. Really sweet. No definite duration on the parts, sometimes trading bars and sometimes extended phrases with occasional overlapping counterpoint. Segues into a nice guitar figure and then melodic harmony between the sax and guitar building to a strong motif. The melodic harmony repeats but goes to bass to end.

This 9 minute song held my attention with no problem whatsoever.

Keoka - Another Riley Stockwell original. Extended melodic head. Guitar solo. Short bebop/blues figures. Gestures stacked on top of each other. A fusion interlude and then sax. Much sparser overall and very powerful becoming percussive with stacatto and heavily accented phrasing. Post bop. Strong performance. Guitar repeating some of the sax phrasing. Both guitar and sax. Hard to tell who's soaring and who's vamping. Fusion interlude. Great ensemble work. Drums under head on the way out. Sudden stop.

They just keep getting better.

These young musicians write great songs but they also cover other 21st century jazz composers showing that they are deep into contemporary jazz literature. I love listening to live recordings at the Live Music Archive but this recording really made me want to see their show.