Band: A Giraffe
Album: Under A Table
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
By Aaron Binder
Skirting the line of mundane and over-achieving in the world of lounge jazz is an incredibly difficult feat to pull off. On one hand you end up like Kenny G, innocuous and loved by middle-aged yuppies across North America. On the other hand you languish in relative obscurity, your genius appreciated by a few, misunderstood by most. That middle line represents the perfect landing spot where the smooth jazz crowd can appreciate your edginess and the real fans can enjoy the complexities of progression and timing. This IS a tough feat to pull off, but something that California quartet A Giraffe has managed to pull off with stunning brilliance.
The group has obviously pulled together a wide swath of influences from across the jazz spectrum and mixed it all together into some sort of modern lounge. There are hints of Gershwin, real Americana, as well as progressive movements much more akin to fusion style. The band has stretched with this album to create something all encompassing and easy and have managed to accomplish this goal with what seems to be relative ease.
The band’s first album, Under a Table, is poetic yet driving, whimsical yet profound. Ask almost anyone on Earth and there is going to be at least one element to this album they enjoy. The free-flowing blasts of the Alto Sax are gorgeous backed up by slick bass-work, sultry drumming and energetic piano in a most dynamically pleasing way. This is the type of album you can put on as background noise with guests over, blast over the loudspeakers at more raucous party, make sweet, sweet love to or just enjoy alone while disseminating the different progressions and pieces.
This is one of the best albums released so far this year and if the makers of Sim City know anything about great music, they should just hire A Giraffe for their next soundtrack.