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Loosense - Saloon CD (album) cover

SALOON

Loosense

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

5.00 | 1 ratings

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TCat
5 stars Loosense is a Jazz Rock/Fusion band from Portugal founded in 2014. In 2018, they released their debut album, and in October 2019 the released their 2nd album "Saloon". This sophomore release features 10 regular members constituting quite a jazz ensemble featuring saxes, clarinets, and trumpet along with two guitarists, two keyboard players, bass, drums and percussion. It's quite an impressive group of instruments. "Saloon" has 8 tracks and has a total run time of 52 minutes.

The album starts off with a trilogy of songs called "Capitol". "Capitol I" (4:25) starts the album off with a smooth flowing sound and a sax taking the melody and improvising on it. The music builds and more brass is added to the mix which expands the sound to something quite full and nice, but the music doesn't just settle on that as it quiets down to a solo piano and then expands again. A tricky rhythm takes the track into another realm and then returns it in a more developed state. It's a nice opener and shows off the bands talent for developing and expanding their music by using dynamics and taking great advantage of their number of talented musicians. "Capitol II" (4:50) picks up the pace with a Latin vibe, complete with flamenco guitar played by guest Marco Alonso. The rhythm is established, a nice melody is laid down by sax again, and then the music builds to a fuller sound with the different brass instruments taking turns, and then the the excellent flamenco guitar solo takes over while the rest of the band plays the foundation for the solo. Pretty amazing. "Capitol III" (2:00) slows things to a mysterious crawl with low register synths, acoustic guitar with echo and guitar effects swirling eerily around.

"Flamingo" (7:01) is a bright, yet moderate track with a bit of the latin flair and just a touch of funk and a heavy backbeat. The sax again takes the spotlight playing short staccato notes to match the solid rhythm. Later, the short, sharp notes are taken over by the synth while guitars and horns keep things a bit tense without losing the sharp and solid rhythm, but things soften at 4 minutes allowing a romantic muted trumpet some time to create atmosphere. The full band comes back in at 6 minutes to close it all out. "daBox" (4:47) continues with a moderate rhythm, yet that is the only thing that compares to the last track. This speeds up and the guitars get to work now. The sound is a bit more unique, even when the horns come in on a wind effect. The track changes tempo and texture a few times, never content to settle on one single style, but it does return a few times to the original theme, and then wanders off into territory that is just a little off kilter and quite progressive. Its quite unique and definitely will get your attention.

"Tokyo" (11:23) is the longest track on the album, but then all three of the last tracks are a bit longer. It starts off with a rolling percussion solo, sounding like bongos and etc. Finally, just before 2 minutes, a rhythm is established, bass comes in and then keys, guitar, and brass are added in slowly. The meter is tricky and changes often, but the music remains controlled. There is a sort-of oriental sound to it all, but the way it is presented is rather unique as it is in mostly the strangely swinging background, which, by the way, continues to shift and change as different instruments take turns improvising. At 6 minutes, the music expands and intensifies, becoming more exciting, then it backs off again and becomes soft as interesting brass treatments come in followed by soft keys. This one will mess with your head a little bit, but that's okay as it swings around on dynamic changes, mood shifts and alternating meters while using a few strange effects to remind you that this is not a typical jazz fusion band.

"Villain" (8:32) continues with the progressive jazz sound mixing melody with interesting time signatures. The brass work to create excitement here and tend to have more of the spotlight this time around. After 3 minutes, the wandering and crazy sax finally allows the guitar to come in and mix around with it. Once again, I was trying to count out a meter, but it changes so much that I couldn't quite figure it out. Somewhere in the 4th minute, the bass and drums get to have their say as they sneak around together. The bass figures out a sort-of pattern, but the drums are not content to stick with that and just fly around wherever they please. A guitar comes in and echoes the bass line, but the drums continue to show off. In the last minute, the band joins in and finish it all off.

"Taifa" (9:07) closes off the album. Soft minimal percussion, some of it tonal, flutters around softly, but after the first minute, the entire band suddenly comes in with the horns playing a bright melody, later joined by a bit of funkiness in the guitar. This track seems to be tying and tightening everything down. At 3 minutes, however, things change direction and the guitar gets to add some power and intensity to it all. The music really starts to simmer and soon starts to boil as the guitar gets crazier and effects push it to a climax. A bit after 5 minutes, the tension is released, the main theme returns with even more funky guitar and very active percussion evoking a party atmosphere. By the 7th minute, the music has all leveled off and the band plays along as the synth plays a solo that complete the album in a grand way, everything on the album is suddenly resolved and the hatches seem to be battened down quite well. What a trip this album ends up being.

I just want it to be known that I love this album. What a display of great musicianship from this jazz fusion ensemble. The music is fun, exciting, off-beat, progressive and unique. Dynamics are well used, tempos shifts and style changes are plenty, yet everything sounds cohesive. Sure there are a few rough edges, but that only serves to give the music more personality. It would be difficult to compare this band with another as the music is it's own style, complex with a latin flair, and at other times smooth and structured. I can say that this is one of the best, if not the best jazz fusion albums I have heard released this year. Highly recommended if you are a progressive jazz fusion lover and you don't mind your rhythms changing and just a bit of experimentalism thrown in from time to time. Easily 5 stars.

TCat | 5/5 |

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