Eddie Arjun Peters (guitar), Lamar Myers (drums), and Andre Lyles (bass), form ARJUN, a band that fuses the raw, electric power of rock and blues with the finesse of improvisational jazz. ARJUN is releasing its new album, “Gravity” – featuring: Cory Henry (Snarky Puppy) on “Ascent” and Jeff Coffin (Dave Matthews Band, Bela Fleck) on “Run”. The album was Recorded and Mixed by Scotty Hard (Bjork, Wu-Tang Clan, Antibalas, Arto Lindsay, Medeski Martin & Wood, Charlie Hunter, and Sex Mob), who also worked on the band’s critically acclaimed previous album, “Core”.
“Awesome”, “explosive”, are “amazing’ are superlatives that come to mind when first hearing this intense, jazz-rock-fusion rock instrumental music. Why ARJUN as a group is not more popular is bewildering. Anyone who likes rock-based instrumental extravaganzas should pick this up immediately.
In many ways this album is of a super group – Why? Because every one of these musicians are at the top of their craft, seasoned and admired and by fans and other musicians who know how brilliant they are. Plus it does no harm to that equation, when adding guests like Cory Henry (Snarky Puppy), Jeff Coffin (Dave Matthews Band, Bela Fleck) and Molly Cherryholmes to the compilation.
Okay – so the word “complex” may also be used. Yes, this music is complex and intense. You won’t be humming it as you go for any Sunday afternoon stroll. But that’s what’s so compelling about listening to “Gravity”– it’s an Adrenalin rush of power rock and jazz fusion. The powerful interplay and angular time signatures that chop and change will keep you riveted.
I listen to this album and sometimes think that Lamar Myers is what stops this from becoming an overblown, bombastic jam fest. The drumming is marvelous and gives the compositions edge and control. Yet, at the same time the album showcases Eddie Arjun Peters chops with his speed bar nudges and legato playing.
This is what gives this album a more jazz fusion feel than straight-out rock instrumental. I also love Cory Henry’s organ interludes which infuses “Ascent” with red-hot soul!
Andre Lyles is again remarkably supportive on this outing – yes, he has the chance to exchange blistering bass lines with everybody else. Andre fills the canvas with waves of rhythmic sound over which Eddie wails blissfully rather than tries to outdo. It’s the melding of the musicians in this band that ultimately makes things work.
The music is very dense, full of smart progressions, melodies, hooks, textured and lyrical playing, layers of cool rhythms, and staggering tempo shifts, to be discovered and digested over many listening sessions. Both emotional and intellectual stimulation are a constant throughout this album. And it’s evident from “Prince”, through to “Crossroad” and the title track, “Gravity”.
Not only is each of these players a technical giant, but their playing is incredibly tasteful and distinctive. Their contributions provide an uncanny sense of groove and vital flow throughout the music. Perhaps the one word that captures this album is “exciting”.
It’s a showcase of musical skills that makes one smile at ARJUN’s sheer audacity in an over-computerized world, to which the rest of the mere mortals on planet earth can merely applaud while they timely tap their keypads to Garage Band!