Final Floor

Throttle Elevator Music

Wide Hive Records, 2021

http://www.widehive.com/ensemble/throttleelevatormusicfeaturingkamasiwashington

REVIEW BY: Conrad Warre

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 09/29/2021

The independent label Wide Hive Records, based in California, has focused on jazz, funk, and hip-hop in the last two decades. The album Final Floor contains eleven tracks of soul-jazz, blending Kamasi Wahsington’s Tenor Saxophone with Erik Jekabson’s trumpet over a musical platform provided by drummers Lumpy and Mike Hughes. The release also features Matt Montgomery on bass and Mike Blankenship on keyboards. Kasey Knudsen brings her alto and tenor saxophones to the ensemble, Ross Howe plays guitar, while Gregory Howe records, engineers, and produces. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Washington has played on six previous Throttle Elevator Music releases. Final Floor, recorded between 2013 and 2020, is intended (or declared!) to be the final issue from this multi-musician ensemble. The compositions are credited to songwriters Montgomery and Gregory Howe. Lying in the motorway divider between mainstream fusion jazz and cocktail party rock, Final Floor has a stable floor of groove-based rock patterns that support a haze of calming horn parts suggesting that good things will come to all who listen.

Cinematic and atmospheric tracks hurtle forward with a pleasant urgency that neither create the soft illusion of fear one would experience on a fairground ride, nor the inclination to get up and dance. The music generates an adrenaline response without actually frightening the listener. The extraordinary musical competence of all the musicians participating lends the listener a level of confidence that this train is not going to fall off the tracks. Track 10 “Fast Remorse” is easily my favorite tune of the album, and it stands out for its higher level of energy than the rest of the tunes. But all of the tracks are superlative here. As they say: if you like jazz, this rock album might suit you, and if you’re a rock addict, this jazz album will live happily in your headphones.

Rating: A

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