Moments and Fragments
Instru Dash Mental
It’s unusual to begin your band name with the pound sign but in this age of text messaging and digital communication perhaps, it’s not odd. (and, for those who file CDs alphabetically like this writer, how do you deal with a #? Suggest you just go to ‘b’). Maybe they are just trying to convey a level of unpredictability. To that end, #Bloomerangs and their second release, Moments and Fragments, succeeds as they seamlessly cross genres and even global boundaries. Ostensibly jazz, there’s plenty of blues, world, new age, and of course, jazz in this concoction of 13 pieces, all written by a group member. #Bloomerangs, is an Indiana-based collective with the band name perhaps owing in part to the city Bloomington. The group features Chris Parker on drums, Rodrigo Cotelo on guitars, Stefan Lenthe on bass and Clay Wulbrecht on piano. Their mission is to integrate different cultures and sounds as a vehicle to a universal human expression through music.
The opener, Wulbrecht’s “Home” is unmistakably blues based with piano chords and its emotive and harmonically rich guitar lines. Rhythm section support is subtle and in the pocket. Cotelo’s aptly titled “Leaps and Bounces” moves at a brisk pace, featuring some nice interchange between bass and drums with punctuations from Ulbrecht’s piano. “In Some Shape or Form” and “S. Mitchell St.” were both semi-finalist tunes in International Songwriting Competition Jazz category. The former rides on Cotelo’s guitar lines, fitting as he serves as musical director for the group. It’s challenging on the rhythms and intricate in delivery but very engaging for a longer piece and at just over eight minutes. All get soloing opportunities everyone gets to shine across various tempo changes before the group unites in ensemble fashion for the close.
Cotelo’s “Untold” is short and spiced with a distinctly Latin rhythm while the Parker/Cotelo “Catch a Clue” is a free-playing number, led by different players at different times with some explorative moments in the rhythmic patterns and harmonics. A stand-out number as each musician listens, reacts and explores, reaching into the depths of their instruments’ ranges and coming out with something which works well. Wulbrecht’s “Another Melancholy Waltz” does justice to the title, serving as a calming piece midway through the album.
The second half of the record changes in tone to a more atmospheric, less structured, spontaneous presentation. Rotelo’s “After the Fact” stays in conventional guitar-driven groove but Cotelo’s “Layers of Complexity,” as the title suggests, sets up with a banjo no less followed by electric guitar, dancing percussion and synth effects, punctuated at various points with dark chords and the return of the acoustic piano. The Cotelo/Parker “Change of Pace,” with its grunge rock sounding guitar takes the ominous ambience further before the Cotelo/Lenthe “Mind Your F” settles into calmer waters, providing the most serene moments on the album delivered mostly be a melodica (recorded in Uruguay) and also some interesting guitar counterpoint.
Cotelo’s closer (these guys have a way of making their titles very direct) “That Sums It Up” also has punchy guitar riffs over glowing piano voicings and flashy drumming full of sharp snare cracks, rolling toms, and intermittent splashes. As the crescendo begins, there is an almost psychedelic flair to their musical union. It’s a long way from how they began the album, evidence that this band can move in many directions, delivering an album that touches on so many different sounds and textures.