Skerik, the enduringly saxophonic, punk jazz iconoclast, introduces his latest project Bandalabra. Joining him are three of his fellow Seattle hometown’s most revered players: Andy Coe on electric guitar, Evan Flory Barnes on upright bass and Dvonne Lewis on drums.
“I’ve always been inspired by Fela Kuti and Steve Reich,” explains Skerik. “This sparked the idea to start a band built around rhythmic and minimalist concepts.”
It’s a bold assertion, but one for which the music bears witness. Together, the quartet syncopates and snakes, floats free and snaps tight with hypnotic afrobeat rhythms, minimalist canons and improvised harmonics. There’s a duality that demands listeners both dance with abandon and get lost in the sound.
Bandalabra’s debut album Live At The Royal Room, captured at the band’s first public performance, finds the foursome heading into the deep unknown and creating music in the moment for over 60 minutes straight. Halfway through the evening, they hit upon the illest of psych grooves, appropriately dubbed “Beast Crusher.” Here the visceral and cerebral become one, and Skerik’s Bandalabra emerge a fully realized vision.
To date Skerik’s Bandalabra has only toured on the West Coast, but this September they will embark on their first ever U.S. run, hitting 18 cities from the Midwest to the East Coast.