"Thelonius Monk goes to the circus drunk" is how one listener describes it.
Put another way, the music of the Industrial Jazz Group is an amalgamation of 50s, 60s and 70s acoustic jazz (bebop, hard bop, cool jazz, free jazz, modal jazz, third stream, etc.) with the kind of sounds, effects and compositional approaches often associated with the avant garde (xenochrony, multiple meters, musique concrete, sped-up tape, etc.).
As if that's not bad enough, all of this is filtered through an absurd sense of humor and a love for melody.
The group's debut album, "Hardcore" (2001), reveals the influence of Monk, Charles Mingus, Frank Zappa, George Russell, Raymond Scott, Elmo Hope, Bob Graettinger, Bernard Hermann, Ornette Coleman, Duke Ellington, and many others.
"...every track on Hardcore combines the time-tested excellence of tasty bop with the excitement of each musician's contemporary reshaping of this rich genre. Whether you're a longtime fan of bop or are trying to become acquainted with its intricate nuances, Hardcore is a great aural guide. [...] Ultimately, the IJG's mixture of classical jazz with edgy bits of post-Braxton experimentation will win over the old-schoolers as well as those seeking something a bit left of the tired status quo. Whether it's Francis' frantic flute notes or Durkin's daring piano pounding, there's a definite sense of camraderie between the instruments, and their interplay is distinctly beautiful. You'd be just as happy checking them out at a sleazy local dive as you'd be having them play at your own wedding!"
Andrew Magilow, splendidzine.com
"One of the great things about Durkin as a composer is that he gives you something melodic to hang on to even when he's at his most experimental. It may be that he benefits from our familiarity with avant-garde approaches to music, which make the occasional difficult passages in the disc seem less forbidding. It also helps that Durkin brings a light touch to those passages. He's a humanist whose occasional disorentations have more in common with Ornette Coleman's generosity of spirit than with John Zorn's anger."
Joseph Taylor, PlanetHiFi
"Though the band's sound is not really derivative of any artist or style, Hardcore does pay the occasional homage to such disparate sources as Davis and Dolphy, Coltrane and Coleman, Zappa and Zorn. Durkin's heads are infectious, and his arrangements are worthy of an Ellington or Mingus chart. But perhaps the group's moniker is a little misleading. The influences are there, but the word 'jazz' conjures audio images of that self-indulgent head-solos-head nonsense that passes for museum music at best. The Industrial Jazz Group will have none of that, thank you. From Aaron Kohen's gloriously goofy arco bass solo on 'Valley of the Smokes' to the bird calls on 'Lucky Duck' and unexpected electronics of the trilogy 'What is Music For?,' this is jazz as it has certainly never been heard but as it was clearly meant to be played."
Joe Tepperman, Daily Trojan
"Like most outstanding ensembles, the IJG succeeds in exactly the areas where lesser groups fail. Saxophonists Evan Francis and Mike Dodge can play sweet and tasteful lines with out sounding saccharine or regularized. Still they are clearly playing with precedents. Francis on the flute could be mistaken for Eric Dolphy while Dodge has a lyrical style reminiscent of Stan Getz. Drummer Drew Hemwall is a constantly changing pulse and by that I mean that he both keeps time and pushes his playing in new directions. Pianist Andrew Durkin is a seemingly never ending set of quotations from children's songs and jazz classics alike. He brilliantly navigates the piano centered 'Cozy 'n Tooty' which is light and jovial on the surface but just beneath that contains a great deal of musical tension that is skillfully resolved. And then there is Aaron Kohen on the upright. Kohen matches Hemwall's vocab and takes the music one step further with wonderful arco lines and just generally inventive and lyrical playing in the traditional role of the bassist. His playing on 'What is Music For? (part one)' is awe inspiring as he sounds like a horn player who has just transported his sound to a bass."
Micah Holmquist, jazzreview.com
"On the creative side of traditional straightahead swinging jazz, both the arrangements and the improvised solos display a refreshing level of innovation. [...] Hardcore deserves a listen and reveals depth upon close examination."
Nils Jacobsen, allaboutjazz.com
"A wild ride through all kinds of interesting sounds! The reward for this trip is true Jazz. It reminds me of the Art Deco era in some smoky Martini lounge... sitting at the bar using terms such as 'cool cats' and 'I really dig it.' I can just close my eyes and sit back, unwinding to the unmistakeable groove of Industrial Jazz Group."
Scott Toothman, AMZ Musiczine
For more information on the group, please visit our website.