The name comes from Zaphod BeebleBrox, the main character in author Douglas Adams' science fiction satire 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.' BeebleBrox' music combines the elements of jazz, rock, funk, and world music to create a new sound, while keeping the fusion traditions of artists such as Weather Report, The Mahavishnu Orchestra and Chick Corea's Return to Forever. You can hear many influences in the music of BeebleBrox, but their sound is unique! BeebleBrox was first formed in Albstadt, Germany in 1983 by Peter Kienle. After teaming up with Monika Herzig in 1988, Kienle moved the group to the United States, to Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Herzig, composer as well as a respected jazz pianist, has recently been awarded a Down Beat magazine award for her composition, 'Let's Fool One,' and received a doctorate in music education and jazz studies from Indiana University. In 1990, BeebleBrox released it's debut recording, Entropy, followed in 1991 by the release of The Thing, then Bloomingtoon in 1992, Raw Material in 1994, Quantumn Tweezers, in 1996, Indianapolis Intergalactic Spaceport in May 1997, Dominant Domain, featuring saxohponist Bob Berg in October 1998, and RealBrox in May 2002. BeebleBrox, along with these spirited recordings, has been featured in prestigious jazz magazines including JAZZIZ, Jazz Times, and Cadence. The success of these seven albums and BeebleBrox' steady festival and club work has led to appearances in major venues with Sting, Santana, Diana Ross, Bette Midler, Tower of Power, and the Dixie Dregs, and to regular performances in major regional music festivals. 'BeebleBrox's music is wonderfully engaging, enveloping the listener with depth and emotion....gently holding on to jazz traditions, while forging it's way into the future.' Bloomington Voice '....it combines the elements of many musics jazz, rock, salsa, world music of various kinds to create an effective whole. The members of BeebleBrox have succeeded in creating their own sound. You can hear many influences in their music, but they don't sound quite like anyone else.' Shawn Woodyard, Different Beat, Indianapolis '.... The tunes incorporate an exceptional level of creativity, both in terms of composition and instrumentation...' Dave McElfresh, Cadence Magazine 'Unlike most contemporary jazz groups, BeebleBrox's compositions are expressionistic and refreshingly off the beaten path, integrating jazz, rock, classical and Latin elements.' Kenneth Wyatt, Jazziz Magazine BeebleBrox is an Indianapolis-based group captured in a live performance on these two discs, which contain more than two hours of recording time. The players are understandably proud of the results, which display a fine, groovy fusion orientation with good solos from everyone but especially from Peter Kienle on electric guitar and Tom Clark on tenor sax. There is not a weak performer in the group, with Paul Surowiak's drums anchoring the sound. This is BeebleBrox's eighth album, but this one purportedly is the first to 'capture the live spirit' of a performance. The tradeoff if that while the sound quality is usually decent, there are times, as on 'Belonging,' when it falters slightly. Because Peter Kienle, Monika Herzig, and Tom Clark double (or triple) on other instruments, there is an attractive diversity to the results that keeps the final product from getting tedious. While the group considers itself to be a Jazz band, it falls within the walls of fusion and Smooth Jazz, though to be fair there are some strong, creative moments throughout. Clark's muscular sax is enjoyable enough, and he is capable of burning, as he does on 'Homer Simpson' and on much of the second disc. Actually, the production is filled with humor, and you can appreciate the clever timeline in the leaflet which describes the history of the band, preceded by events in world history such as the end of the dark ages and the publishing of Douglas Adam's 'Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.' Similarly, the names of the tunes are cute (e.g., 'It's better to keep cool sometimes' or 'Half Man - Half Brocoli'), but they are unrelated to the tunes themselves. The recording deserves some air time on the Jazz radio stations, as it is at least on par with much what is often heard. Ultimately, whether this appeals to you will depend on your appreciation of and interest in the genre. Steven Loewy, Cadence, October 2002 ------- BEEBLEBROX Real Brox Acme Records BeebleBrox is a quintet from Indiana whose name I've heard floating around the 'jam band' circles; if they haven't yet, you may find them opening for Phish or John Scofield one of these days. They're a Jazz-ier orientation than those other bands, or Deep Banana Blackout, have--- but BeebleBrox do, as those other bands will, construct infectious (if in BB's case, often laid-back and easy-rolling) riffs and carefully turn them inside out and back again with extended, yet well-thought-out soloing. A 2 CD live album may seem analogous to the Double Live LP conceit of the 1970s to us old folks but in the new era you may be talking 130 to 140 minutes of music as opposed to a mere 80. No fear there, as BeebleBrox have more than enough chops and good ideas to make the extended time fly by. This band comes off as very much a unit, though all the musicians have strong personalities: Tom Clark's sax recalls Michael Brecker in it's uncomplicated sass, and I got a kick out of his off-quote of Charles Mingus' 'Goodbye Pork Pie Hat' at the end of the funky CD1 closer 'Gateway.' But I suspect the star here is Monika Herzig, who doesn't write much but whose synths and piano glue the band sound together. On CD2's 'Lost but Not Forgotten,' her string synth envelops the warm-toned opening statement from guitarist Peter Kienle and once Clark has commented tartly Herzig submits an arresting, tightly controlled statement which Kienle downshifts out of like an Alfa Romeo. Oddly the very strong impression of Herzig's piano break remains throughout the remainder of the 7-minute tune (one of the shorter ones here). Jack Helsley enlivens on the bass Clark's out-statement, and his closing coda wraps the tune up with a moody flair. My only real knock against BeebleBrox is their measured approach to song development: everybody takes their time about whatever they are doing, and although there's a reasonable breadth of tempi here there's never an air of urgency. But that may be the attitude they're shooting for, and if so, they've succeeded. 'My Funny Glove Compartment' has a notably earthy wah-wah guitar line recalling Pat Martino around the time of his late 1970s JOYOUS LAKE record for Warner Brothers, and crisp drumming from Paul Surowiak; the patient listener who doesn't want 'Art Now!' but will settle for it in five minutes will be rewarded. My own favorites here are CD2's 'Homer Simpson' (I'd like to see the cartoon character shake his upholstered butt to this one), and two ballads, 'Belonging' and 'Half Man, Half Broccoli.' Those last feature some beautiful synthesized harmonica courtesy of Herzig and a melodic gift (thanks to former member Dan Vonnegut and to Kienle, respectively) that makes me recall Master Cylinder, a favorite Midwest short-lived phenom from the late 1970s. They did one record on Inner City called ELSEWHERE; good luck finding it! BeebleBrox, however, will do very nicely, thank you. Be prepared to be in the listening room for a while. It'll be worth it. By Ken Egbert.
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