Giving the modern jazz world a much-needed kick in the ass, Kneebody has assembled a quirky brand of improv-based crossover jazz that's as refreshing as it is expressive. The New York/Los Angeles-based quintet's sound, which borrows equally from traditional jazz, hip-hop, rock and electronica, is anchored by hard-hitting beats and bass lines and tastefully bolstered by soulful '60s horn lines and ambient electronic noises. This unique approach reflects the diversity and experience of the individual members (keyboardist Adam Benjamin, bassist Kaveh Rastegar, drummer Nate Wood, saxman Ben Wendel and trumpeter Shane Endsley, a Denver native) -- who collectively have backed an assortment of artists such as Snoop Dogg, Ani DiFranco, Chaka Khan and Ravi Coltrane, among others. And unlike a lot of neo-jazz fusion groups, Kneebody's penchant for the groove never gets tedious. Although the players are apt to change keys or tempos at will -- they've developed a unique system of cues that they employ live to keep the arrangements fresh and evolving -- you don't have to wade through ten-minute-long atonal freakouts just to get back to the original jam.
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