RME Cafe @ River Music Experience (129 N Main St., Davenport, IA)
Saturday, April 28, 2012
Colorado-based progressive, improvisational act Jet Edison takes non-traditional approach to filling dance floor
Boulder-based quartet Jet Edison is anything but a traditional rock band. With its distinct blend of genre-mixing music, the rock-fusion band's members bring together individual influences from across the musical spectrum, creating original songs with strong technical musicianship, thought provoking lyrics and talented improvisation.
Through the use of different time signatures, tempos, dynamics and other musical elements, the music is as interesting as it is groovy and dance-friendly. Jet Edison strives to bring a different sound to the modern jam band scene.
Word of Jet Edison's captivating performances has spread rapidly, gaining them recognition across the Rocky Mountain region and beyond. The act, which is emerging as a nationally touring act, was nominated as Colorado’s “Best Rock Band- Jam/Improv” by Westword. The combination of intriguing original compositions, talent, and raw energy are giving audiences something to dance to all night long.
The members of Jet Edison met through mutual friends in Boulder. Originally, guitarist Max Kabat and bassist Adam Mason (who happen to share a birthday) were playing in the basement of a CU dorm with a mutual drummer friend. Keyboardist and trumpet player Phil Johnson said he ran into that friend on his way back from practicing at the music school, and was convinced to come meet his friends. Everyone hit it off and started talking about forming a band. Drummer Alex Johnson (no relation to Phil) was recommended by another friend later on, and was found to fit into the band perfectly.
Although the band’s members say “rock-fusion” is a good description for their music, “we really touch on every genre that interests and influences us, which can be quite a lot,” Alex said. “On stage, I'd say we bring a fun and energetic experience that can be ‘imaginative’ and make you think as well. I think we strive for that kind of thing; not just a good time but a great place to enjoy yourself, dance your pants off, and still think about the lyrics and the music. Using different time signatures, tempos, dynamics, etc. all makes the music interesting as well as groovy.”
No matter the description, there is no denying the band puts on one powerful and dance-friendly show. “The live experience with Jet Edison is a high-energy musical experience with songs to suit a variety of listeners,” Phil said. “Unlike other shows, Jet Edison provides the listener with a collective of varied sounds and rhythms, leaving almost no style untouched. Covers can range from classic rock anthems of the ’60s and ’70s to recent dance and pop numbers all with the range and flow reflecting the human experience.”
Whatever it is the band plays, it’s the audience’s reaction to their music that motivates the musicians to play. “There is something that happens between musicians and the audience, and that is why I keep lugging gear all over the country and setting it up and tearing it down, because there's nothing like that energy,” Alex said. “The vibe and emotions on peoples' faces in reaction to something you are helping to create is amazing. So, our intentions on stage are certainly to promote happiness and make people think and feel something that they don't usually get in their usual day-to-day through our music and occasionally, our antics.”
It’s an even deeper experience for Phil. “I think when we play together we hope the audience can all share in the unique experience of that ‘moment,’ the ‘moment’ when all the problems of people’s day-to-day life melt away and they can relish in the sonic enjoyment that brings their conciseness into focus and frees their inhibitions. We also hope that our music can serve another purpose as art or self-expression bringing the listener into a more engaging level of thought.”
Band members also all appreciate being a part of Colorado’s music scene. “I came out west in large part because of the music scene. It’s nothing short of flourishing here,” Phil said. “There are so many music opportunities it seems like every bar in Boulder has music on at least one night a week. There are lots of bands competing for attention, but unlike bigger scenes, like NYC or L.A., everyone’s really nice and genuine.”
Being from Colorado seems to help the act away from home as well. “Being a band from here is awesome on the road, as a lot of people hold Colorado in high regard when it comes to music, so it can make us look cooler than we are before they even hear our music,” Alex said. “At home it's a great and beautiful community of musicians and bands. We frequently play with other bands/musicians and act as subs for members, and talk shop too, it's really great. The only down side is there are a large number of bands that play in the same vein so you have to work hard and differentiate yourselves from the ‘pack,’ so to speak. That is a good thing though, too, as it keeps us writing more tunes, playing more shows, and always crafting our sound.”
The band recorded and released a full-length album, Adopt a Highway, last year. Phil explained, “I’d never before tried such an ambitious recording project and even though the result is something very different then what Jet Edison sounds like today, I think it holds it’s own.” It is available on the band’s website at www.jetedison.com.
According to Phil, the band plans to “buckle down and focus” on original music and its live show. “We need to write music that reflects are growth as a band and produces the energy and originality of our combined talents. This year we’d like to play 125 gigs, tour a lot more and even play a few festivals,” he said.
With the band’s abundant talent and overwhelming dedication to the music, there is nothing to keep them from accomplishing these goals, and more.
Adam Mason: Electric Bass, Upright Bass, Vocals
Alex Johnson: Drums, Percussion, Vocals
Max Kabat: Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Mandolin, Vocals
Phil Johnson: Keyboards, Hammond Organ, Trumpet, Vocals