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MP3 Better Than Street Racket - Bandemic

Instrumental jazz/funk/rock fusion for listening and grooving

6 MP3 Songs in this album (36:09) !
Related styles: JAZZ: Jazz Fusion, ROCK: Funk Rock

People who are interested in Herbie Hancock Chick Corea should consider this download.

Better Than Street Racket – Bandemic. Questions for Bob

What prompted you to put out a CD now?
· We’ve recorded a lot over the years, but about nine months ago I noticed that the music was taking a nice jump in how good it sounded to me. The band was also getting more comfortable in the original material we play, and our playing was getting tightly synced to each other. I wanted to do a well-crafted production of the music that we could present to the world.

Is there a theme to the CD?
· I think there are a few themes and common threads throughout it. First, it’s all instrumental music with a good deal of improvisation, too. Some of the harmonies are jazz influenced but at the same time the grooves and feel tend towards rock and funk in most places. The next theme is that this is the sound of a band playing together. We rehearsed hard and went into the studio and did most of the tracking over one weekend. We did add percussion and the acoustic piano parts later, but what we really wanted and felt that we got was the sound of a band playing together.

One of the songs is “Thank You Chick” – what’s that about?
· Chick Corea has been a great musical influence for me over the years. Last year, Todd and I saw him in Portland with the reconstituted Return to Forever band. It was a really inspiring show, and the next morning I wrote that song as a thank you to Chick for everything he has shown us musically.

What was going through your head when you composed the songs?
· It varies of course – for “The People’s Key” we were joking around at practice and Todd said that the key of ‘E’ was “the people’s key” because it’s so accessible for beginning guitarists and bassists. I thought it was funny that you could label a key and even politicize it – kind of like you could wave a key around like Mao’s little red books were during those mass rallies photographed in China. So of course the song is strongly in the key of E – and though the harmonies get a little extended in the bridge section, the underlying method is that it’s a descending bass line but the note on the top of changing chords is always an ‘E’.
· For “Keep a Clean, Green, Scene” - one day I was driving around the Mt Hood Forest area with my wife. We got a car garbage bag at the ranger station that had a picture of a “bear as human” – you know, wearing pants and standing on two feet and talking and pointing – kind of like Smokey – telling us literally to Keep a Clean, Green, Scene. I’m as big a sucker for anthropomorphization as the next guy – this stuff really seems real to me, and I certainly want it to be, too – and that inspired me to write something that captured the feeling of being in the forest. The funky parts of the song came later.
· For “That’s Not All” – the title is lifted from the tag line of those insidious low budget TV commercials advertising household gadgets “But Wait – That’s Not All!!!” But I think the idea of the phrase “that’s not all” really matters when you’re coming to end of a phase in your life or a project or whatever you’re doing. Though it may appear to be the end, there are still going to be things flowing from that experience afterwards. So the theme is kind of nostalgic in a way, and invokes a kind of “summing up” but I hope still invokes the possibilities of the future.

Any comments on particular songs?
· Actually I’d like to hear that from you, the listener. Tell us which ones you like best. I’d like to keep that in mind as we create music for the next album.

About BTSR – when did it come about?
· Todd, Skip, and I have been playing together since 2001. Todd and I met back in the late 80’s through a mutual friend who played with Todd in a blues/rock band. Todd and I played together in a few different configurations during the 90’s. I met Skip when we worked at Intel together designing and marketing a couple of MP3 players in the halcyon pre-dot-com-bust, pre-iPod days. We’d played with different guitarists at Todd’s rehearsal space – where we record almost everything – but when we had Russ over a couple of years ago the music clicked really well as his great tone and musicality fits in just right with how we play. The full band name – “Better Than Street Racket” came about when we were wondering if the neighbors were OK with our volume level. Todd lives on a moderately busy street and they felt we were certainly better than the street racket. Plus we’re humble guys that believe in truth in advertising, and we can brandish this name with the confidence that our music is indeed better than street racket. Also it’s serendipitous that in acronym form it spells out the initials of our names.

How about a quick intro of the members?
· Bob Jacobs – Keyboards. Bob composes the band’s original music. His acoustic and electric piano and organ work was honed at Berklee College of Music and extensive performance.
· Todd Ommert – Bass. Todd’s über-solid playing is derived from years of work in Portland blues and rock bands.
· Skip Landis – Drums. Skip’s driving drumming developed anchoring rhythm sections in Southern California and Portland.
· Russ Boyles – Guitar. Dr. Russ authoritatively delivers searing lead lines hard-earned from working in numerous R&B, rock, and jazz bands.

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