Review: Wabi Sabi, Alive And Orjazmic Up In The Tin Roof

Wabi Sabi, Alive And Orjazmic Up In The Tin Roof

21 Aug, 2014 Matthew Forss



The Georgia-based band, Wabi Sabi, is an action-hero medley of members that play funky and fun music with jam session-type qualities and jazzy ambiances.  The group consists of Damian Cartier on vocals and keyboards, Andy Birdsall on vocals and guitar, Kris Dale on vocals and bass, Jason LaMarca on drums, Wes Funderburk on trombone, Lester Walker on trumpet, and Vinnie D’Agostino on sax.  The double-disc release contains fifteen live songs in all, which run the gamut from jazz-focused to funk-laden with a touch of reggae, fusion, alt-pop, swing, Latin, and rock.

“Beliefs” opens with a showy, jazz-pop tune that comes alive with an active piano, bass, drums, and horn section.  The vocals begin with a jazzy presence that is slightly funky and nostalgic. The vocal delivery is punchy, heartfelt, and energetic.  About two-minutes into the song, a swaying 1960’s pop melody slows everything down for half a minute, until a jazzy sax kicks in and changes the tune into a rollicking, jazz medley that is more lively than the first few stanzas of the song.  The pulsating piano, loud horns, and lack of vocals for the extended jam session does not fall victim to any pitfalls.  A few vocal lines are added, but end before an extended piano, jazz-infused, funky-beat takes over with some light wordplay at the end of the song to remind us of a live recording.

“Lady Lush” opens with a reggae-like melody with funkadelic appeal and throbbing keys.  The bass, drums, and vocals are energetic.  There are poignant choral solos that are quite lush with sound.  A punchy beat and scintillating keys make the blurting trumpet come alive with reserved vocals that are more akin to wordplay about the music and band members.  The bass and light percussion section begins after four minutes in a jam session/solo performance that sets the mood for lounging and relaxing.  There are more instrumental elements of this song than vocal parts during the latter half of the song.  There is a strong live feel of the music, which encapsulates the primary meaning of the album.

“Fuzzy Plastic Peach” begins with a jazzy, big-band, funk, and rock-inspired tune with punchy horns, fluid bass, and bluesy vocals with intelligent lyrics and memorable chords.  The vocals contain some back-up help in parts, but the solo vocals still stand out.  The keyboard accompaniment, bass, guitars, horns, and drums creates a vibrant, party-infused track with great vocals that conjure up a classier time of American rock and funk from an earlier era.  At any rate, the track is still modern and inventive with fluid, cool jazz keyboard accompaniment during the latter half of the song.

“Spida” opens with a spoken wordplay during the first half-minute.  After the spoken wordplay, a throbbing bass, electric guitar wahs, jazzy percussion, and instrumental brilliance ensue for almost a minute.  The vocals commence and bring a funk and punk element to the mix without straying too far away from the blues and jazz ambiance inherent throughout the album.  There is a flurry of horn-driven and percussion-filled outro elements, which makes the tune creative, memorable, and worthy of repeated listens.

“The Skar” begins with an energetic, horn-driven and jazz-infused cascade of sounds that are fast and vocals that can keep up with the sounds.  The various instrumental sounds are similar to a Balkan or Klezmer band.  This is speed music at its finest with very little room for errors, as the song is tightly constructed around a fast, up-tempo beat that is slightly divergent from other tracks on the album.

Wabi Sabi’s latest release is a double-disc set with double the fun and music wrapped around a jazz, funk, reggae, and roots medley of sound.  The music is nostalgic and draws upon sounds from the music of the 1960’s and 70’s.  At any rate, the vocals are diverse and strong throughout. The live feel of the recording is largely undisturbed by erroneous sounds, clapping, and other distractions.  Fans of blues, rock, jazz, reggae, roots, Americana, Latin, and related sounds will love the final result.  Think of Every Damn Day meets Dengue Fever at a bar in Kingston…yeah, it’s that diverse.

Review by Matthew Forss
Rating:  5 stars (out of 5)