Livestream New York City
Material: Charette performs an intriguing mix of electronically derived sounds and textures. “Slasher” is a heavily syncopated piece that builds in sonic depth and intensity. It’s a colorful patchwork where Jimmy Smith sensibilities and Larry Fast-type visions converge. “Aligned Arpeggio” shifts from funky grooves to asymmetric rhythms. Sample-driven interludes along the way keep one on the edge of their seat. “Improvisation With Modular Synth” combines Ramsey Lewis and Herbie Hancock-like finesse atop a vibrant and percolating synth figure. “57 Chevy” has a glint of nostalgia, with a ripping bop-influenced melody. It’s a great blowing tune in a brisk modal kind of vein.
Musicianship: While it is apparent this New York-based musician has a strong improvisational presence on organ and piano, he is a master at various other devices, as well. His facility for layering various soundscapes over and under a primary melody is invigorating. And his ability to integrate seemingly random samples, with assorted waveforms and snippets is vividly cinematic and surreal.
Performance: Watching Charette work is like observing a mad scientist in his laboratory. Surrounded by banks of keyboards and mixing gear, he dives into each composition with a passion and verve that demands your complete attention. The tunes are multi-faceted and contain interesting segues and aural detours. While all the pieces are charted out to a certain extent, much of the set was primed for jazzy exploration and danceable grooves. There was even a portion in the show where the music became more ambient and Charette got into some yoga and tai chi moves. With the dense mix of bubbling analog and digital keyboards, the man and machine seemed to merge as one.
Summary: Brian Charette is an award-winning jazz artist who has worked in all types of group configurations. From fusion to bop—he does it all. With electronica, however, this artist excels in the sense that he goes far beyond the common parameters of the genre.
Most DJs and beat makers seem to rely on stale grooves and static ideas to numb their audience into submission. Charette, however, brings his considerable chops and sophisticated style to the fore and truly elevates the listener. It’s a complete experience for the body and mind.