Kick the Cat

Kick the Cat

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Chicago jazz quartet Kick the Cat offers a solid collection of funk/pop fusion in the mode of the Yellowjackets. On their new CD Kick the Cat, bassist Chris Clemente, guitarist Chris Seibold, drummer Kris Myers, and keyboardist Vijay Tellis-Nayak prove that they've got the chops to serve up an engaging style of jazz that doesn't sound like "something the cat dragged in." One of the best tracks is "Porno Jazz," built on a rolling beat and clavinet riffs, this slab of funk has a tantalizing lead guitar and synth solos. Some parts bring to mind the theme from Sanford and Son. Mellow is the word for "Trouble in Paradise," with Tellis-Nayak's electric piano grounding the track in smooth comps and Seibold solos à la Wes Montgomery. Kick the Cat certainly lives up to their name on "Tell Me Why," a low-key atmospheric number that slinks along on ethereal, swelling synth pads, shimmering cymbals, understated mystical percussion, and sinewy "past-midnight" guitar lines. The group really works out on "Funky D' Clown," an eight-minute jam that at times recalls Weather Report and other times the dissonance of James Brown at his funkiest. Drummer Myers glides through complex time signatures on the sporadic "Squirt." The group once again displays its feline-like tendencies on "ERA: The Common Man." Against a clipped ticktock beat, bassist Clemente makes nimble-fingered upper-octave bass runs and Seibold makes smooth, sly, and wicked guitar runs. No question about it, if you want your jazz/funk fusion dynamically interesting and playfully complex, then you've got to (get) Kick the Cat.

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