by Dean Christesen Ombak, the current project and alleged brain-child of trombonist Bryan Hooten, will be releasing their debut album this Wednesday, April 29, at their regular bi-weekly gig at Cous Cous. Hooten has been busy sharpening Ombak’s knives around town lately, as well as infiltrating the internet (blog, twitter, facebook, myspace) with music that […]
by Dean Christesen
Ombak, the current project and alleged brain-child of trombonist Bryan Hooten, will be releasing their debut album this Wednesday, April 29, at their regular bi-weekly gig at Cous Cous. Hooten has been busy sharpening Ombak’s knives around town lately, as well as infiltrating the internet (blog, twitter, facebook, myspace) with music that all should hear. Because of my previous brief stint with the gentlemen last spring, it wouldn’t be fair of me to rave too furiously about the band…without at least giving that very disclaimer before doing so.
A little history first: The band’s biography states they have been formed since the fall of 2006. Facing shifting personnel changes for the band’s first year-and-a-half, this seemed to be more of a period of compositional growth and idea percolating for Hooten than it was of regular gigging and fanbase building. With the addition of drummer Brian Jones, its current line-up was set in 2008’s summer. A tour for The Great White Jenkins–which contains many Fight the Big Bull members–that summer was a serendipitous moment for Ombak: it allowed them to temporarily take over FTBB’s regular Cous Cous gig, which made possible the band’s most fertile period, leading up to today and this release. As Lindsey Prather observed for RVAjazz during the beginning of the Ombak gig in May 2008, “They combine to bring heavy metal beats, neo-soul dance grooves, and stylish improvisation to the masses. It is no secret that Richmond prizes musicians who can really shred on their instruments, and Ombak offers this in addition to skillfully written compositions with infinite variety and versatility.”
Read RVAjazz’s review of Framing the Void to get a feel for what the album and this band is about. But if you really want to come prepared to Cous Cous on Wednesday, listen to this. Listen to Jones insist on a faster tempo immediately upon his entrance, listen to a multi-metered theme played in unison between three instruments and still be so powerful that it hurts, and listen to each musician shred. “Aware” is one of those characteristically Hooten compositions: big beats meet serialist logic meets Behold…The Arctopus-like complexities. (More tracks from this live concert at the Titan Jazz Festival are up on Ombak’s blog)
With music that captures the band’s consistently forward-thinking live performances and brilliant packaging and design (by .:. impossible, who also created this website’s header), Framing the Void is a debut album for Hooten, his band, and Richmond, to be proud of.
Wednesday, April 29
Ombak: Framing the Void Album Release
900 W. Franklin St., Richmond, VA 23220