Friday, December 30, 2011

Best Albums of 2011: A Giraffe

JazzWrap revisits a great year of discoveries in 2011.

A Giraffe (group)

Under A Table (self produced; 2011)
Joe Santa Maria (sax)
Mike Lockwood (drums)
Steve Blum (piano)
Emilio Terranova (bass)

Hailing from California, A Giraffe was a pleasant surprise when I first gave it a spin. They are contemporary but with just enough young bite that it standouts from a crowded field. The band's debut, Under A Table features some fine performances circling around some complex structures. Tracks like "You Shouldn'tven't" and "Crucial Present" demonstrate the quartet's flare for excitement. But at its heart, A Giraffe are a modern group with some fascinating ideas rolled into the mindset of four excellent musicians.

The opening track "A Ranger" has multiple counterpoints and is driven by some great improvising by Blum and Santa Maria.  Lockwoods drums cut across the plan is crisp, sharp fashion; along with Terranova's pounding drone-like bassline. Check out our full discussion of Under A Table as well as the interview we conducted a few months ago.