MP3 BeebleBrox - Quantumn Tweezers
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12 MP3 Songs
JAZZ: Jazz Fusion, JAZZ: World Fusion
A casual glance at BeebleBrox's Quantumn Tweezers CD, with its oddball computer graphic images and strange song titles ('YES, send me the next issue FREE' is my personal favorite) might give a strange impression. But make no mistake, BeebleBrox is not a group of computer geeks, but of serious and sly musicians with worlds to offer. Tweezers is an affecting journey, with lots to do and see along the way. Each track is unusual, from the bubbling, crazed fusion epic alluded to previously, to the strikingly sparse electric violin-piano duet 'The Saga of C and C.'. Where 'Balding Balladeer' is graceful and dark, with singing bass of the Del Palmer variety, 'Gateway' struts with electric guitar in bluesy setting - the group's tightly-timed hesitance lends grit and emotion. Many of the Brox compositions include unusual instrumental combinations which illustrate their coyly presented subjects. 'Riding the Wings of the Buzzard,' for example, offers a blurping tenor sax melody dipping across a wiggy organ line and pull-off bass licks for an offbeat, charming feel. The novelty of finding a band named from the Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy may cause you to pick Quantumn Tweezers off the shelf, but their artistry and humor will make you stay.
JazzTimes, December 1996, page 107
Quantumn Tweezers, Acme Records.
Reviewed by staff writer Jay Harvey.
*** = good
BeebleBrox, a contemporary-jazz group established in their native Germany by Monika Herzig and Peter Kienle in 1983, continues to prosper as an American transplant, with the founding couple now married.
Based in Bloomington, the group is centered on Kienle's guitar and Herzig's keyboards, with regular members Jack Helsley, bass, and Dan Vonnegut, drums, completing the lineup. Frequent collaborator Tom Clark makes vital contributions on saxophone and flute, and there's a cameo appearance by electric violinist Cathy Morris.
If you are put off by whimsy, you may not get past the disc's title and cover art - not to mention such song titles as 'YES - Send me the Next Issue, FREE' and 'Balding Balladeer'. But the music inside, while abundant to a fault, consistently delivers on the implied promise that BeebleBrox is capable of going in just about any direction at any time.
If there is a BeebleBrox signature tune, it would be a piece with a chugging, infectious rhythm that permits honest reflection as well as pure party energy to play a role. This is characteristic of Herzig's 'For McCoy', as well as the somewhat long winded 'Left of Center'.
The episodic structure of many BeebleBrox tunes adds a constant sense of adventure, even when the payoff isn't great ('Out on Blue Six'). 'Riding the Wings of the Buzzard' is among the disc's highlights, a well-balanced number that makes up for such Kienle indulgences as the blues-drenched 'Gateway'.
BeebleBrox: more than a band
These guys have got their hands into everything from production to
performance to puppetry
Two of the nicest people in this area of jazz are Monika Herzig and Peter Kienle. This young married couple is also one of the most ambitious, motivated and creative on the local jazz scene. Professionally, they are founders and co-leaders of BeebleBrox. These two have a very hip, sly sense of Sci-fi humor that is reflected throughout all of their albums. Their latest CD is 'Quantumn Tweezers', on their brand new record company, Acme Records. (For Roadrunner fans, Wily Coyote does not own a piece of the action.)
Kienle and Herzig give credit to Kevin Kouts, a drummer with The Mathematicians, for the idea of founding Acme Records. Acme Records was formed because of a perceived need for a recording outlet for eclectic, high-quality music by creative artists. And the couple are open to suggestions, involvement and especially investors while they are still putting it together. Talk about ambitious - check out some of the future album projects they plan to release on Acme Records.
One will be the first recording of the Oliver Nelson Jr. Quartet, dedicated to Nelson's jazz-legend father as a result of winning the WTPI/Union Station Winter Jazzfest competition earlier this month. (Incidentally, Nelson's rhythm section is from Beeblebrox.) Acme's owners
also have plans for a duo album featuring Herzig's keyboards and Cathy Morris on violin - plus, they are talking about an offbeat Christmas album.
Back to their label's inaugural release, 'Quantumn Tweezers', BeebleBrox has undergone a change - they've gone back to their roots, according to Kienle. "This is a very strong band. We want to go back to that, and Tweezers is probably the first step in that direction."
There is more of a feel of relaxed flow from the band on 'Quantumn Tweezers' than on some of their previous releases. Dig Kienle on his gutsy blues tune 'Gateway', with its 3 a.m. roadhouse feel of crying in your suds. On the other side of the family, Herzig, who composed four of the album's 12 tunes, came up with a gem in 'The Saga of C. and C.'. Collaborating with Cathy Morris's free spirited violin, this must be a hint of their upcoming album. Former drummer Dan Vonnegut, who is now in Japan, composed the attractive number 'Riding the Wings of the Buzzard', which Tom Clark's tenor shines on. Kienle wrote six of the album's tunes, and he has also just completed writing a guitar concerto that he plans to release on their new record label.
There will be numerous CD-release performances for 'Quantumn Tweezers' March 1 at the WIld Beet in Bloomington, with Cathy Morris. If the band weren't busy enough, they have added a new wrinkle when they teamed up with a puppeteering group called adzooks!!!
Herzig explains, "We have some friends that do puppetry, and they came up with a 'BeebleBrox adventure manual'. So, they will have the audience involved creating the quantumn and creating poetry and stories while the music is going. This is going to be an exciting event."
Jazz and puppetry, BeebleBrox style, move to Kip's Pub, 96th and Allisonville Road featuring Cathy Morris on March 2 at 9:30 p.m. On March 3, BeebleBrox and adzooks!!! will perform at Borders Bookstore in Castleton from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m.
Herzig and Kienle innovatively launched off the pad with a divergent offering of good sounds in 'Quantumn Tweezers'. Jazz and puppetry are definitely worth checking out.
Chuck Workman, NUVO, Indianapolis
Todd Hildreth, Louisville Musicnews
Quantumn Tweezers is the second CD from BeebleBrox.
"We're very happy with this new one. On Raw Material [their previous release]" said keyboardist Monika Herzig" we had recorded the CD in snippets over a drawn out period of time, using different players on a lot of the tunes. On this one, we have the same group. There's better continuity."
BeebleBrox plays a challenging brand of jazz that can both please open-minded jazz listeners and adventuresome rock audiences. Add to the jazz sensibilities a quirky sense of humor and a fascination with science fiction a la guitarist Peter Kienle, and you've got a band to be reckoned with.
BeebleBrox's use of electronics causes some to label them as fusion, but don't be too quick to categorize them. Fusion, like the rock label 'alternative,' has come to mean something more specific than the broader interpretation suggests.
Fusion originally meant the 'fusing' of jazz and rock styles. Over time however, it became commercialized and formulaic. BeebleBrox prefers to be called 'original jazz,' not fusion.
"Peter's writing is heavily influenced by Weather Report, where the ensemble is interacting constantly, and you never know which parts are written out and which parts are improvised." said Herzig "Me, I really like the music of Billy Childs, and let's just say I'm quite proud of the fact that Chick Corea and I share the same birthday.....
The computer graphics on the eight-page booklet alone are worth the bucks.
Todd Hildreth, Louisville Music News
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