Anyone who knows the Minneapolis music scene knows that it is a deep pocket of talent tucked unassumingly in the upper Midwest. Done Been, a project recorded by Sean Behling (Sax/Production), Rob Dewey (Keys), and Zack Lozier (Trumpet), proves once again this town turns out music that is unique and inspired. As evident in the playing on the album, these musicians have developed chemistry playing together in different groups/settings since 1998.
Eleven instrumental tracks on the album showcase these musicians performing ten original pieces and a cover of T. Monk’s “Epistrophy.” These pieces arranged mostly by Behling feature group interplay, soulful improvisation, and compositions diverse in style. Collaborations with DJ Detalx, and MCs Crescent Moon, Advizer and Doug Kearney show an interesting synthesis as the vocalists and musicians comp eachother while working the beat. Together the layers of live horns and keys blend seamlessly into sample based backdrops coupling to create an earnest, organic quality that is at times hypnotic and strikingly real. The beats, composed of thick, dusty samples, often juxtapose tight drums against sly loping rhythms in the vein of traditional jazz style drumming ripe with finesse and intricate brush work. This contrast brings the element of dynamics back into the limelight which only deepens the emotional impact of soulful yet mysterious songs like “Rough Lot,” “Extrapolation,” and “Down.”
When listening to this album it is apparent that these pieces were built and written with a profound attention to detail. Rhythm tracks frequently evolve outward only to collapse in upon themselves as changes are often accentuated with well programmed fills and interesting samples provided via DJ Detalx’s scratches. Harmonies are dense, and the horns often vamp off one-another proving this was thought out and performed, not spliced and diced after the fact. While irreverent to any one style or formula this album has a cohesive feel while venturing across styles like dub, bebop, funk, 70’s police show themes, acid, noir-style atmospherics, industrial, and Latin sounds. Adventurous to the end this album presents an interesting look at where jazz can still go.