Band: The Avengers
Band Website: www.theavengersband.com
Label: Moonjune Records
Release Date: 2013
Whenever you assemble a group of musicians who want to play seriously and have fun the music invariably takes a turn towards the world of jazz. Thatís the genre that allows for a significant amount of musical freedom and yet demands a certain level of skills. And that brings us to The Avengers and their new release entitled On a Mission. These four guys all come with solid musical pedigrees and their individual work has them playing with such diverse people as Steven Wilson to the Pointer Sisters and plenty in between. The band consists of Beledo (guitar), Adam Holzman (keyboards), Lincoln Goines (bass) and Kim Plainfield (drums). Itís a standard lineup but the music is far from standard and if jazz ensemble performance with plenty proggy embellishments is up your musical alley this is certainly a disc youíll want to get a hold of.
The eight instrumental tracks that make up On a Mission range in length anywhere from as short as 3:32 to as long as 7:41 however most of the tracks are in the five-minute range. Not overly long but still providing plenty of time for a wide range of musical expression. The music launches with the title track ďOn a MissionĒ [3:32] and itís the shortest of the bunch. Everything is in motion right off the bat and the quartet cooks; percolating drums, burbling bass, chiming keyboards and stinging lead guitar lines. Like any great jazz combo everyone knows their place and the trade off from guitar lead to keyboards is seamless. This is music that still incorporates a certain rock flair and proggy embellishments, structure and arrangements. Iím reminded a little of the first UK album; itís that kind of music. The element that most reinforced the jazzy flair, besides the performance swing, was the tonal cleanness. The band avoids unnecessary distortion or sound augmentation preferring to let the core musical tone of the instrument stand out. The progressive elements that rise to the surface tend to be changes in time and tempo more than anything as a tune will slide from one musical structure to another with ease or in some cases accents will be inserted to announce a change-up. The longest track ďPortiaĒ [7:41], a slower more expressive composition than the others tends to betray the most proggy elements.
Clearly the music of The Avengers is for the more serious fan of music. There will be a tendency for each of these eight compositions to start sounding the same to the less trained ear. Thatís the nature of the beast, so to speak. But for the music fan that enjoys engaging with the music On a Mission will provide some thoroughly enjoyable listening time.