The Hard Baroquer blog is a hub for musicians to improve their playing. It is edited by Pana Markides, a home musician that has pursued music as a hobby for nearly 20 years. An intermediate guitarist, beginner bassist and even sometimes dabbling on the harmonica, he is always learning something.
By The Hard Baroquer
Two genres worlds apart: rock with it’s aggression and bravado; it’s a physically demanding genre categorised with hard-hitting drums and complicated drum sets; overdriven guitars blaring out of big amplifiers and all accompanied brash vocals. Jazz, with endless experimentalism, unconventional chords and scales and espousing of more elegant musical instruments – piano, saxophone and trumpets – makes it demanding to play, and difficult to learn, but lacking in overt brawn that we associate with rock stars. And you’d think with so much seperating them, there should be no reason to blend them. Yet some artists choose to do just that – here’s some music acts that choose to defy the boundary between jazz and rock n’ roll.
In the 70’s these world’s collided resulting in jazz fusion and artists like Steely Dan (who regularly collaborated with Toto drummer Jeff Porcaro) Miles Davis and Mahavishnu Orchestra as well as King Crimson and Frank Zappa, and their music was both ambitious and indulgent, but struggled, I feel, to be rock n’ roll. But over time, other bands have added elements of jazz, but kept to hard-rocking spirit. Here’s a few currently active bands worth checking out that blend the spirit of rock n’ roll with that of jazz.
Initially named The Reign of Kindo, Kindo formed in 2006 and hail from Buffalo, New York and formed in 2006.
Kindo produce a blend indie and alternative rock, imbued with a little bit of jazzy flair and a touch of the progressive. Their music showcases a preference for keeping songs minimalistic and not over-indulging in technical showmanship
We’re digressing a little, but Canadian instrumental group bring an element of jazz to hip-hop and have collaborated with the likes of Kendrick Lamar to bring a added dimension to the hip hop music that inspired them. Their music may not be rock n’ roll, but this piece is more about bringing jazzy inspiration in an easily consumable form, and BBNG do that in spades.
Thank You Scientist
A energetic, prog rock band with a brass section (and a violin) for a jazzy touch, Thank You Scientist combine complexity with catchy, soaring vocals and a fantastic sense of rhythm. This is a seven-piece of virtuosos that aren’t scared to strut their stuff.
Hear them in action:
Michigan funk band Vulfpeck put themselves on the map by putting on a silent album, Sleepify, on Spotify to raise funds for a free-attendance tour, getting them in hot water with the streaming service. Though the core of their sound revolves around funk rock, they do have with some jazzy inspirations for extra flavour.
Check out their track Dean Town below:
If you enjoyed what Thank You Scientist have to offer, then Trioscapes will be enjoyable.
Trioscapes is a side project of Dan Briggs (of Between The Buried And Me) and explores the jazz element much more intensly, however with band members with a background of hard-hitting metal bands, Trioscapes’ music showcases an ability to rock your socks off.
Munich-based quintet Panzerballett are best described as ‘jazz metal’, but take their influences from funk, progressive rock as well as heavy metal. The result is bizarre, but draws you in to a bold and exciting journey that places a smile on your face.
Listen below to see what I mean:
No matter what kind of music you’re into, three-time Grammy® Award Winning music collective Snarky Puppy is worth checking out, as they merge jazz, rock, funk and world music and showcase the highest calibre of musicianship.
Check them out live in the studio below:
There you have it – jazz and rock, and even jazz and heavy metal may not seem to go well, but when they do blend, the result is often exciting to hear, and you’ll struggle to go back to whatever you were listening to before.