Mr. Giant, a jazz and funk fusion band, is gearing up to release their first full-length studio album release in 2019. The band, hailing from all around the world, but currently living in Los Angeles, was founded by Bruno Neves in 2017. Having gained a large fan following during the past 2 years, Mr. Giant is ready to share their journey in anticipation for their new album. And they do so with their 4 track EP, entitled “Face To Face”. One of the first things that really hit me when I first heard this record was the superb musicianship. Each member of the band is really on point here. There is some inherent fun in the way they play. The band are obviously together as a group to write and record music, but they also seem to desire to just be in the same room as each other and play. It would be easy to point out the lead and solo instruments as impressive, but I have to say that the drumming specifically, is outstanding. It is very tight and rhythmic and it really glues the whole group together and brings them down to earth.
The EP’s opening song, “Seven Feet Tall” is probably the most catchy and accessible. This makes it a good opener because it helps introduce new listeners of the band to what their style is like. What we hear is the result of many great musical minds and hands, pooling their expertise into the song. You only have to watch the snippets of performances that Mr. Giant filmed in front of a live audience or in the studio to see how the artists groove themselves into the music, and enjoy each other’s influence.
Instrumental solos make up one of the strongest stylistic elements of this EP, and are present on all the tracks here. Sometimes they’re long and progressively structured. At other times a quick bout of explosive fun and skill are the game.
Throughout, Mr. Giant’s flair for interesting, poly-rhythmic textures becomes very apparent, and the second track, “Electric Eel” sees the band do rhythmic turns on a dime. Add in the shimmering keyboards, weaving horns and lead guitar solos, and Mr. Giant take their levels of sophisticated textural layering and sheer groove prowess to new levels here.
Mr. Giant’s tight 8-piece ensemble, including a horn, section enable the group to express diverse musical influences, and are key to the band’s distinctly big sound on “Maze”, probably the most ambitious sounding track in the collection.
The band’s delicately layered keys, skillful guitar solos, delicious bass runs, and gorgeous horn arrangements, combined with continued rhythmic restructuring, allows the song to be a lusciously rich and passionate musical gem.
The vibrations run high throughout “Face To Face”, with each of the stellar musicians taking turns with bold virtuoso improvisations amid the collective grooves that built in energy like a freight train. You’d be surprised at how hypnotic and spellbinding their jazz fusion can be.
The grooves are deep and intense, making listen to songs like the final track, “Phy-Pho”, seem much shorter than the seven minutes and fifty seconds it really is. Rhythm is as important as melody throughout this amalgamation of tracks, and the alternating emphasis on one aspect or the other—and often the fusion of the two elements—enlivens the musicians as they play. In turn, this spontaneity commands attention because surprises abound within each track.
Jazz and its derivatives is not simple music for the average ear. It never has, and it never will be. Despite all, “Face To Face” is very easy to listen to. Mr. Giant flow together with perfect synergy, while keeping things smooth, yet multilayered and intense. If you want to listen to some stand-up instrumental music, with a great sense of groove, and the ability to put you into a state of musically-related ecstasy, then this is one of the highest recommendations that I can give.