Milwaukee’s KASE is one of the best hip-hop-jazz collaborations I’ve ever heard. That’s admittedly regarding jazz rhythm aesthetics. But the forms share close rhythmic values, especially per the yin-yang of groove, even as hip-hop typically rides on a funkier backbeat flow.
On KASE Alive, recorded at Milwaukee’s Company Brewing, Chicago-based rapper CRASHprez falls into the pocket with eager elan. The collective’s founder and trumpeter Jamie Breiwick leads a variety of tempos pursued with whipper-snapper style, usually with the supple relaxation to engender swing. So CRASH takes his sweet time, feeling that rolling pulse, until he’s ready to jump and splash. Nearly as impressive, these highly appealing tunes are improvised from start to finish, revealing jazzers with deep vocabularies responsive to whatever the moment demands.
Foe example the styles of the tunes are wide-ranging, with the opener “The Beholder,” unfurling as spacious electronic soundscape, until a herky-jerky rhythm digs in, like a man shoveling earth with heave-ho zeal. A bowed bass solo adds another dimension. Throughout the album, drum rhythms are sampled by electronics and turntable player knowsthetime.
Recall electric Miles Davis in the dark ensemble attitude and simmering textures.
It’s available in a limited edition, online only at KASE Alive link