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Brian Haas and Matt Chamberlain | Frames

album review by John Powell

Brian Haas and Matt Chamberlain | Frames

I was admittedly hesitant to review Brian Haas and Matt Chamberlain’s Frames, as I’m not the biggest jazz enthusiast, and this album came off as being experimental contemporary jazz.

To my humble surprise, Frames is a delicate balance between lazy day atmospheria and modern jazz ala Marco Benevento- the fast stuff, catchy, with jazz as a feel and not a constraint. Frames is mostly Brian Haas and Matt Chamberlain on keys and percussion respectively, with some additional synth programming.

Songs like “Death: An Introduction” feel more like an old Air song than a jazz tune, attributed mostly to Matt, who is more interested in seeking beats with his percussion than the fluid jazz filler typical of such songs.

Other songs, like the stellar “Prism”, build and tumble lusciously, finding a groove and going with it. Jazz for the jazz haters, Frames might be. The two almost took modern day electronica and made it organic. Swap keys for laptop whirligigs and you’ve got a Euro-jam.

“Niche” sounds like the opener to a Steven Spielberg caper, tossing around light keys and romancing a groove as far as it can go. “An Empty House” speeds away like the end credits. Overall, Frames is an instrumental suite, a thought out, provocative album, breathing new life into contemporary jazz.

Bottom line: Jazz for the jazz haters, this album is full of dance beats, atmosphere for rainy days, and long walks down sunny roads. This album isn’t what you think.

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