It always seemed strange to me that you could go to school for music, or painting, or hell even writing. I always just figured that the majority of artists and musicians that were worth their salt just sort of were self-taught or mentored by some great master and then went off alone in the world to suffer for their art until some rich benefactor found them or they were picked up by a label and became successful.
Though I suppose what is teaching but a constant reiteration of saying, “make yours look like mine.” I think for most people in a certain sense, and I’m talking about the arts here, not math and science, a teacher can serve to show you what you’re doing wrong in a sense and perhaps how to fix it, but for the most part in my estimation and what I took from my observations during my years in higher learning is that for the most part teachers are going to nurture the bright students and let the others sort of flounder about until they realize for themselves that it’s time to change their major.
Chicago jazz, funk-fusion outfit Spocket is seven mostly school-trained jazz musicians and it’s pretty easy to tell right from the start of their self-titled debut EP Spocket. Within the first minute or so of “Foxin” with its mellow repetitious grooves built around keys and guitar and then layered up with brass, one understands that things will still be within the lines here; there won’t be any wildly outrageous solo a la Lisa Simpson in the opening credits of The Simpsons. If it were not for the tape delay “Purple Camo” would seem as though it were simply an extension of “Foxin” though it does play up the keys more and tones down the horns slightly in parts, there is really not much else to distinguish the track.
However on “D.I.Y” the band turns up the funk and the rock with the guitar searing through with heavy metal intensity in some spots, and the keys and horns taking on more of a Live-Evil era Miles Davis tone though after a while they slip back into formation to close out “D.I.Y” on a rather down note. Next on “Hop Topper” the band run the gamut of sounding like a grocery store jazz band covering Steely Dan.
When the average person, not well versed in how plot and narrative works, reads a book or watches a film, they often miss the story beneath the story, the symbolism and metaphor, the subtle nuances, which exist for reason. Myself never having been a music student and knowing little about theory I am certain I have missed many of the subtleties of these compositions. However Spocket sounds at most times that it was made for a letter grade rather than a wide range of listeners. In this way lovers of neat and tidy jazz and funk will adore it, but for rebels who are looking for something a bit more experimental you’re not going to find it here.
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