Steve Kimock Band - Eudemonic
New Dimensions in Instrumental Rock
Steve Kimock is one of today's most talented guitarists and composers, a master musician known for his uncanny ability to balance passion and power with soaring grace. Relix magazine recently dubbed him "The Guitar Monk" for his relentless pursuit of 'Zen and the art of guitar.'
Kimock has been immersing himself in music since he first picked up a guitar at age 16 and his devotion to his music is evident in every note he plays. His inimitable tone and distinctive sound is the result of endless experimentation with customized equipment, amplification and speaker design. He's a musician's musician who has shared the stage with artists like Bruce Hornsby, The Allman Brothers, Steve Winwood, Bonnie Raitt , Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, Trey Anastasio and Jorma Kaukonen, to mention just a few. He's played rock, blues, folk, country and salsa, but it's his work with the Steve Kimock Band that has honed his own music, an indefinable blend of all his past influences. It's rock, but with a free improvisational approach that is open to anything and everything that has ever been, or never been, played. It's a familiar, yet far-reaching sound that keeps both players and listeners on their toes with its unexpected shifts in rhythm, mood and mode.
The Steve Kimock Band is always evolving, reflecting Kimock's ceaseless search for new musical horizons. And the band's signature sound, built around the core of Kimock's lyrical guitar lines and the inventive percussion style of drummer Rodney Holmes (Brecker Brothers, Santana, Wayne Shorter), follows SKB through every incarnation. "I've always been intrigued by Steve's guitar playing," Holmes said. "Working together we have an opportunity to create music that's indefinable stylistically. That's something I've always been interested in - shaping new music and moving in new directions, creating an identity as a band that doesn't fall into any category." Kimock agrees. "What we're doing is difficult to pigeonhole. It represents a sampling of half a dozen writing periods for Rodney and me, separately and as co-composers. There is improvisation, but the tunes are straight ahead, so it isn't jazz. It's rock, but there are hints of African, Arab and Indian music, and it's all instrumental, so it doesn't fall easily into a slot."
Eudemonic, the debut album from the Steve Kimock Band, offers nine flawlessly produced original compositions that highlight Kimock's dynamic playing, technical ingenuity, and impeccable sonic expression. The album features Kimock on guitar, Hawaiian lap guitar and other stringed instruments; Holmes on traps, percussion and synthesizer; Alphonso Johnson (Santana, Jazz is Dead) on bass; Mitch Stein (David Sanborn, Chaka Chan, George Benson) on rhythm guitar and Jim Kost (Philly Joe Jones, Woody Shaw, Branford Marsalis) on keyboards. The title, Eudemonic, is in tribute to Kimock's friend Doug Greene who recently passed away. Greene loved the word, using it often to describe Kimock's music. It's an adjective for things that produce happiness and well being, a fitting description for the music of Kimock and company. The basic tracks were cut live in the studio at the Music Palace in West Hempstead, NY with Kimock and Holmes producing. Holmes also contributed sound design. Most were done in two takes, one to edit down the tunes from their live studio versions, and one to nail it for the CD.
The music on Eudemonic is as varied and eclectic as we've come to expect from Kimock. "Eudemon" opens the set with Holmes laying down a relaxed rolling groove, pushing the beat without sounding overly frenetic. Johnson supplies a serpentine bass line to counter Kimock's hypnotic guitar solo accented by some country blues meets Hawaiian overdubs from Kimock's lap steel. "Freddy Roulette made an album called Sweet Funky Steel and this tune is a tribute to his contribution to the non pedal steel book," Kimock explained. The steel lines are clean and funky, something you don't usually hear from the instrument.
"Ice Cream" is built on a series of cool chord clusters from Kimock, and a progression that hints at the classic rock turnaround without being too obvious about it. Holmes plays a 6/8 rhythm with a feel that's halfway between Jamaica and Africa. The slow Afro-reggae intro opens out into a double time jam that gives Homes and Johnson a chance to show off their chops. "The Bronx Experiment," a Holmes composition, has a hint of Arabia in the drums and an oud-like melody played by Kimock on the octave mandolin. Harsh urban metallic interludes from Kimock and Stein alternate with lyrical solos from Kimock that give the sense of vast open spaces with long sustained notes produced by an Ebow. "There's a hint of North Africa, but with a rock edge," Holmes said. "One of my goals is to keep people from reaching into a bag of labels to describe our music. When they hear this one they'll have to say that it sounds like the Steve Kimock Band. The tune tells a story and if you ask 20 people what it is, they'll all tell you something different, and they'll all be right."
The slow R&B of "Tongue & Groove" hints at the connection between soul and country music and leads up to a big rock'n'roll finish with crashing electric guitar chords and Holmes' inspired stick work. Kimock: "This started off as a deconstruction of 'Sexual Healing' or David Lindley's 'Talk to the Lawyer.' As I was playing it the first time, it reminded me of so many songs I liberally borrowed from a variety of sources in the big rock and soul book of licks." "I like the way my groove and Steve's country/roots guitar come together without sounding contrived or stitched together," Holmes adds. Holmes' drumming brings a considerable sense of tension to the tune, smoothed out by Kimock's tranquil lead lines and Johnson's subtle bass until the tune's rousing "arena rock" climax.
There's also the dreamy, spiritual vibe of "One For Brother Mike," the psychedelic sci-fi balancing act of the half-acoustic half-electric "Moon People," the trance-inducing rock of Elmer's Revenge, and the playful groove of "Bouncer," a tune that lives up to its jaunty title. Eudemonic does the nearly impossible, blending together elements familiar to all lovers of pop music - jazz, folk, rock, soul, world - into a cocktail that explodes into new flavors with every sip.