CD Review: The Chronos Band – Boots The Cat

ChronosBand

What happens when some of Halifax’s most in-demand musicians get together to create instrumental afro-soul music?

First, they play a rousing performance at JazzEast’s Out Like A Lion festival (March 2012) and then follow up by winning the fan-voted Galaxie Rising Star Award at the 2012 Halifax Jazz Festival.  

Since then, The Chronos Band has opened for John Scofield’s Uberjam Band at the 2013 Halifax Jazz Festival, released their debut album Boots The Cat and have been nominated for two 2013 Music Nova Scotia awards (New Artist of the Year and Jazz Recording of the Year). 

Consisting of eight original songs recorded live over two nights at The Shed, the band’s live-performance energy is captured on this album.  

The Chronos Band consists of:
Matt Myer – trumpet (Gypsophilia, The Synchronics)
Trevor Wentzell – saxophones (Jubilee Swing Orchestra)
Andrew Jackson – trombone (Andrew Jackson Group, The Wide Times)
Zach MacLean – guitar (Young River, Heather Green)
Rheo Rochon – bass (Keith Hallett & Garrett Mason, Cyndi Cain)
Kyle Varley – keys (Young River, Heather Green)
Greg Hann – percussion (The Disengagement, Cyndi Cain)
Chuck Bucket – percussion (Keith Hallett & Garrett Mason, DRUM!)
Matt Thauvette – trap set (Young River, Adam Baldwin).

In an interview with Arts East, Rheo Rochon set out the growth of The Chroos Band, stating that “the band blossomed from a trio that was playing Latin jazz around Halifax the past few years.  When I started composing for the band, it became clear a trio wouldn’t match the sound I was hearing, so we added players one by one until eventually you’ve got this nine-piece band, which doesn’t really play Latin jazz at all”.  In describing the bands’s sound,  Rochon stated “the best description I’ve heard of our sound came from a friend of mine who called it “Instrumental Afro-Soul”.  The music draws on a mixture of influences, including Fela Kuti, early Santana, James Brown & The Budos Band, but we write and play all our own tunes.”

Boots The Cat is an upbeat album that can be enjoyed anywhere at anytime.  It is easy to see why these nine musicians are among Halifax’s most  in-demand.  The songs provide an outlet for each musician to shine, with horns, percussion, bass, keys and guitar taking the lead on various occasions.  This is perhaps most evident on “The Great Migration” (a song that makes me want to take up saxophone) and “Boots The Cat”.  For those who love percussion, the song “No Strings. No Brass” will right up your alley.  Fans of “afro-soul” or “jazz” music will definitely want to get a copy of this album, and I encourage music fans not familiar with these genres to give Boots The Cat a listen.  I think you will be pleasantly surprised.   

 Tracks
1.The Great Migration
2. Crabwalk
3. Galapagos
4. House of Cards
5. One For Chronos
6. Boots The Cat
7. No Strings. No Brass
8. Nocturnals

 Listen to “House of Cards”:

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