Thursday, March 17, 2016

Nonch Harpin', Native Sons

On tap this morning is the very creative and capable group Nonch Harpin' and their album Native Sons (Nonch Harpin' Records 2015-1). It is a quintet letting loose with contemporary jazz-rock originals, something by King Crimson and a folk-world number.

The term "nonch harpin'" is Boontling (a jargon spoken by residents of Boonville, Northern California) for "dirty talk." The album was recorded on site in a Boonville barn converted by the band into a studio. The quintet is a lively combination of Shawn Ellis on double bass, Andy Markham on electric and acoustic guitars, Daniel Raynaud, keyboards and piano, Alan Spearot, drums, and Chin Tran on tenor and soprano. They stretch out and groove throughout. There are seven originals by Markham, one original and a folk arrangement by Tran, and a collectively composed number. That plus the Crimson piece gives the band memorable frameworks and space for the solo acumen of Markham, Raynaud and Tran. The rhythm section is very solid and driving.

Markham's way with the electric is very engaging and got my attention in the way he slides and bends with a very musical approach, but they all sound good.

This is top-notch new grooving with an edge at times and always a very contemporary and involved sound. They bring a smile and get you to listen. There is something very much their own happening, though it is very much a part of what is "in the air," too. This is fusion of the now. There is nothing retro about it. Nice!

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