“One of the best introductions to a new band, and a pretty new aesthetic…” Ben Ratliff – NY Times
“…a new generation of fearless improvisers…a bold new future for jazz and improvised music.” Troy Collins – AAJ
“Trombonist/composer [Brian Drye] is a modern musician for whom jazz is but one ingredient in his music” Mark Corroto – AAJ
“A touch of R&B - hard-pounding drum beats and guitar fills that bounce from Rockabilly to Psychedelic.” Ken Waxman - The Jazz Word
“Powerful brass sounds with the raw aesthetics of art rock...a deconstructed quartet of talented musicians brought together by innovation and merry prankster energy.” - Daniel Lehner, All About Jazz
[Brian Drye’s] boisterous slush meshes perfectly with Knuffke’s sharp classical technique; contrasts elegantly with the gritty, ringing indie-rock textures of Goldberger’s guitar and Smith’s animalist but melodic attention to the beat.” Clifford Allen - Ni Kantu
Clifford Allen - New York City Jazz Record 2015
In 2015, it is almost to be expected—if not required— that a jazz musician draw from outside the ‘jazz’ sphere of influence in order to create music. The amount of music available is pretty staggering, yet the ones able to distill this vast sonic landscape into a cohesive, taut approach are few. Trombonist Brian Drye’s Bizingas (with cornet player Kirk Knuffke, guitarist Jonathan Goldberger and drummer Ches Smith) has done just that: distilling everything he has heard and experienced, from minimalism to creative improvisation and post-punk rock, into a band.
The instrumentation of Bizingas is unique, though not limiting, and on the most liberated tunes they present a spry, top-heavy and pointillist charge. “Hawaii”, the opening piece on Eggs Up High (their second disc), begins with overlapping synthesized cells in the vein of Laurie Spiegel or Terry Riley, the ensemble in a lilting unison that falls away into the break-heavy chug of Smith’s kit. Both Drye and Knuffke have fat, clear tones and an exacting sense of pace and sound stately against the electrified ensemble, giving massive and open-ended direction. Whether or not they’ve spent countless hours playing together à la Ornette and Don Cherry (one would assume so), the frontline exudes a hefty, measured telepathy. The presence of Smith’s time, whether cluttered or sparsely didactic, and Goldberger’s fuzzy whine are cake icing when horn players are as in tune as Drye and Knuffke.
In practice, the quartet balances darting precision with ragged tumble—the sputtering volleys between drums and Drye’s organ on “Along”, for example—and orchestrating meticulous lyrical craft and chaotic funkiness is what makes Bizingas’ music intriguing. At Brooklyn’s Manhattan Inn’s CD release last month, the quartet split Eggs Up High in half and bookended a short, deliberately odd solo trombone and electronics set by Curtis Hasselbring. If Smith’s explosiveness was a little too front-and-center for the small room, the deft interplay between trombone, cornet and guitar shaped these beguiling, progressive rock-tinged tunes out of flexible, gutsy improvisation and infused densely scored music with honest, loving openness.
Bizingas, By Ben Ratliff of the New York Times.
An excellent new band from Brooklyn, led by the trombonist and pianist Brian Drye, Bizingas mixes jazz and rock, but is — please, I promise you — about seven planets away from what we used to call fusion. On its first, self-titled album — released by NCM East — this band’s identity points all over the place: toward classical tone-rows, Deerhoof, Henry Threadgill and Charles Mingus’s rugged ensemble harmony. Its drummer is Ches Smith, and if you know how he sounds, that should give you a clue: hard and clanky and relentless, full of bashing fills. Kirk Knuffke is its trumpeter, which could likewise fill you in: learned, nimble around the instrument, tight and articulate with unexpected accents and fast runs. Jonathan Goldberger, improvising or running through written parts, plays guitar like he’s in a rock band, with a thin, dirty tone and a thirsty aggression. Meanwhile Mr. Drye settles in and stretches out on both his instruments, growing relaxed and ruminative over all the scrabbling. It’s one of the best introductions to a new band, and a pretty new aesthetic, that I’ve heard lately.