Few indie jazz groups' Web sites are as attractive as Metalwood's. The band — Mike Murley on saxophones, Brad Turner on trumpet and keyboards, Chris Tarry on fretless bass, and Ian Froman on drums — is a Canadian/American hybrid currently making the rounds of international jazz festivals behind their fourth release, The Recline. For this session, Metalwood invited three high-powered guests: guitarist John Scofield, percussionist Mino Cinelu, and turntablist DJ Logic.
The lazy feel and relaxed soloing on the opening track, “Strollin',” set the stage for a smooth ride through a variety of jazz styles. The majority of Metalwood's songs lean toward the open funkiness of the Jazz Crusaders and late-period Miles Davis, but their orchestration is reminiscent of Weather Report. Although that invites comparison with the jazz-flavored jams of Medeski, Martin, and Wood, Metalwood's The Recline recalls the halcyon days of jazz/rock when musicians had a deeper understanding of post-bop forms and well before the term fusion became synonymous with the F-word.
Recline's second track, “Bumpus,” begins with a playful overlay of guitar and turntable scratchings with processed percussion before a distorted electric-piano groove sets the mood. The next track, “Mr. Mike,” is a brief tune with a twisting melody and a standard jazz framework that mines the territory of Steps Ahead. There's plenty of solo space throughout the record and none of it is wasted.
Metalwood's Web site is designed around the same visual elements as the CD packaging for The Recline. The site is easy to navigate, and its pages, which load quickly, are clearly marked. Their names tell you what they include: News, Tour Dates, Contact, Store, and so on. The Metalwood Media page offers a 1-minute example of each song in RealAudio format.
The Chat page takes you to the Metalwood bulletin board where fans can send messages to members of the band or network with each other. “We have the ‘Ask Metalwood’ section,” says bassist Chris Tarry, “which is a great way for fans to find out where we are and contact us directly.
Board topics include “Live Recording,” for fans who record Metalwood shows, and “I Saw The Show In…,” where specific events can be discussed in detail. Registration, although free, is required.