Capturing Grammy® Nominated Quintet's
Fiery Energy From Live Performances
Civic Responsibility Through Musical Exploration
Sixteen years in and the genre-bending electric jazz collective Kneebody is stronger than ever. On the heels of their recent groundbreaking collaboration with electronic musician and innovator Daedelus, the band returned to the studio refreshed and armed with a slate of road-tested tunes for their ninth studio album. Kneebody makes their Motéma Music debut on March 3 with the release of Anti-Hero, the pulsating result of that creative rebirth, featuring an assured set of churning backbeats and unrestrained exploration.
When Kneebody first convened in the year 2001, they were five twenty-somethings gigging around Los Angeles' vast pockets of nightlife. Trumpeter Shane Endsley and saxophonist Ben Wendel formed the frontline, telepathic and complimentary, while keyboardist Adam Benjamin, bassist Kaveh Rastegar and drummer Nate Wood formed the rhythm section.
These five artists, all bandleaders in their own right, have become first-call musicians not only for their jazz contemporaries, but also for mainstream icons such as John Legend, De La Soul, Snoop Dogg and Pearl Jam to name a few. Yet throughout the years, Kneebody has always remained their artistic home.
It is the goal of the band to not be confined to any genre. Though they exist in an instrumental jazz world, their influences and abilities cover an enormous swath of genres from chamber pop to hard-driving electronic-based productions.
"I've often joked that our band is almost infamous at this point for being extremely hard to describe," says Wendel. "I've always been proud of that. The music we're doing is always new but the band itself is not new. Kneebody has always been our creative home. It's always been the ground for us."
A majority of the material on this record was honed on the road in the last few years. The band takes pride in adhering to the spontaneity of never repeating a take. Months of road-testing tunes results in a very focused mission for the band but the studio as instrument has its charms too.
"When it really works, to write collaboratively is the best thing ever," says Benjamin. "The five of us are totally equal in terms of our decision making on a compositional level, performance level, even on a business level. When everything is aligned and that works well, it is the best thing ever. We all share in the process and feel responsible for the things that go well. That's what has kept it together for 16 years. We all feel like it's our baby, individually and collectively."
"It feels to me like the best representation of what the band sounds like live in terms of a focused effort," confides Wood about Anti-Hero. "That keeps it not too wandering for repeated listening but it has the energy of a live show. It was an easy album to make. We can just kind of do our thing and it seems to work pretty well."
Upcoming Kneebody Performances:
March 23 / Constellation / Chicago, IL
* March 24 / Cedar Cultural Center / Minneapolis, MN
March 25 / The Mill / Iowa City, IA
March 26 / Des Moines Social Club / Des Moines, IA
March 28 / Lied Center of Kansas / Lawrence, KS
March 29 - April 1 / Jazz At The Bistro / St. Louis, MO
April 3 / Blue Bamboo Center For The Arts / Winter Park, FL
April 4 / Aisle 5 / Atlanta, GA
April 5 / The Camel / Richmond, VA
April 7 / Johnny Brenda's / Philadelphia, PA
April 8 / (Le) Poisson Rouge / New York, NY
April 9 / The Sinclair / Cambridge, MA
April 10 / Blue / Portland, ME
* Kneebody + Daedelus
Kneebody · Anti-Hero
Motéma Music · Release Date: March 3, 2017
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