Oak Head Album Cover

Oak Head CD Review by Dick Metcalf

Oak Head CD Review
By Dick Metcalf

Industrial Revelation – OAKHEAD: If “new & exciting” is something you’re seeking diligently in your musical experience, I can tell you that this group is IT, folks! Tunes like the rabble-rousing “The Lake” will smoke yer’ socks & set yer’ mind on fire! What’s key about this great jazz quartet is that they’re playing music today that will set the standard for tomorrow. I had the privilege of hearing them live at Rhythm & Rye, & dashed off a LIVE SHOW review immediately, & I can tell you, that doesn’t happen often… usually, I want to hear the band a couple of times before writing about them (look for an upcoming INTERVIEW with them, too). My personal favorite on this outing was the totally moving, as in rhythm, “PlaceSaver“… every beat, every note is “right on time”! I give these folks (D’Vonne Lewis – drums; Evan Flory-Barnes – upright bass; Ahamefule J. Oluo – trumpet; Josh Rawlings – piano / fender rhodes) a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 5.00, which means they also get the “PICK” of this issue for “best original music” Get more info about the band at the Industrial Revelation site (& tell them we sent you)!

Industrial Revelation Genius Award Photo

2014 Genius Award Nominees in Music

Industrial Revelation – 2014 Genius Award Nominees in Music
By Charles Mudede with The Stranger

INDUSTRIAL REVELATION Ahamefule J.Oluo, Josh Rawlings, D’Vonne Lewis, and Evan Flory-Barnes before a performance at the Northwest African 
American Museum.

CONSISTS OF:

A drummer, a bassist, a trumpeter, and a keyboardist.

MAKES JAZZ THAT:

Breaks the boundaries of jazz.

DISCOVERED WHILE TOURING IDAHO:

That the white folks of that state really dig their music.

It is common for young jazz musicians of our day to incorporate hiphop into their work. Some do this successfully, but most badly. But always their reason for turning to and borrowing beats from hiphop is rotten: They feel jazz by itself is no longer relevant. This is not the music of our times. The current generation is all about Kanye West and not Miles Davis. Indeed, jazz is now considered America’s classical music—meaning, it’s music for institutions like the university and the museum.

That’s not how Industrial Revelation think of jazz. The group has four members—D’Vonne Lewis (drums), Evan Flory-Barnes (bass), Josh Rawlings (keyboards), and Ahamefule J. Oluo (trumpet). All are trained primarily as jazz musicians and play in a number of jazz bands and venues around town. However, IR’s 2013 album Oak Head makes it clear that when these four men make music together, they cannot be classified as a jazz band. IR have a sound that is not determined by one genre, but instead is overdetermined by multiple genres—hiphop, indie rock, punk, soul, and so on. But here is what makes IR truly unique and worthy of the status of Genius: Their mission as musicians is not to save jazz or to be relevant to younger audiences. Absent from their live shows and two albums is exactly that kind of desperation and scheming. What we hear instead are tunes composed and performed by four very talented musicians who are naturally, effortlessly, constantly inventive.

The band was formed in 2005 by Lewis, the drummer; before releasing their first album in 2010, IR saw themselves as essentially a live band. “It never occurred to me that we would ever do a recording,” says Rawlings, the keyboardist. “I always thought our music would just vanish in the air after a performance.” As IR have no defined borders for their music, they have no borders of where they play or whom they play for. “When Klan members hear us,” says Flory-Barnes, the bassist, “they have to take off their hoods, get on the floor, and forget about all that stuff.” As for Oluo, the band’s trumpeter, he finds great pleasure in watching older people at their shows “rocking out to a jam that’s really nothing but the Dead Kennedys, but they do not know it.”

Industrial Revelation at Rhythm & Rye 3

Review of Industrial Revelation’s debut at Rhythm & Rye

Review by Dick Metcalf on Improvijazzation Nation
06/07/14

6/7/2014, 14:25 – You’ve heard me speak before about the latest jazz haven in downtown Olympia – Rhythm & Rye is poised to become the HOT-spot for the Northwest. The band you see pictured here is called “Industrial Revelation‘, and I will tell you – they can COOK… & cook they did, last night! They were a tad late getting started (supposed to start at 9:00pm, didn’t actually start up until around 10:00pm… but it mattered not a whit… they captured the audience on the very first tune & continued to jam out all-original jazz/funk that held us all spellbound! The bass player, Evan Flory-Barnes, was so into the “throb” of it, that he almost couldn’t keep his head on – lol! The trumpeter, Ahamefule J. Oluo (who I left a press card with, by the way), just stepped right UP to it & didn’t stop his high-intensity playing for the entire set. The drummer, D’Vonne Lewis, has his own time… & that’s not a bad statement… this cat kept it all MOVING! The Rhodes player, Josh Rawlings, had a whole host of gadgetry/boxes on top of his axe & used them all to great effect (no pun intended (well, maybe a little bit). A group like this, with their total energy & well-rehearsed pieces, will always capture your attention & hold it. I’m totally impressed & will look forward to review copies of their work. Andy Geertsen has done an excellent job of getting Oly back on the “Great Nor’West jazz map”, and is to be congratulated, in spades, for booking solid acts like this one in for the enjoyment of all of us who demand “different” & “not stale” in our live performance venues. GREAT band!!!!

Industrial Revelation at Rhythm & Rye 1 Industrial Revelation at Rhythm & Rye 2

Industrial Revelation Artwork by Tom Dougherty from City Arts Article

The Outsiders

The Outsiders
Written by Jonathan Zwickel, City Arts

Industrial Revelation wrecks expectations.

The night tilted toward unpredictable as Industrial Revelation took the stage at the old Comet Tavern, with its broken-down bar stools and broken-down barflies and bouncer missing a tooth taking cash at the door. Clad in ties and polite pastel sweaters, the band had come to play their music at this fraying dive, but the Comet would not accommodate the band without incident.

They started their set a quartet: trumpet, Rhodes electric piano, upright bass and drums, blasting a song that built delicious tension and rose to a golden climax. The Rhodes hummed like an engine at cruising speed, the horn shone like a solid beam of light, drums percolating and distinct, bass alert and proud.

Too proud, maybe. In an instant, something happened, and Evan Flory-Barnes, the big man on the big instrument, suddenly held the neck of his bass at a wrong, violent angle, cracked from its wooden shoulders. He all but dropped the shambles to the floor like a throttled corpse and, ashamed of what he’d done or just mad as hell, ducked off the stage and bolted out the front door. The remaining musicians played on, indifferent to the absence, insistent even on erasing it with more sound for the next 40 minutes.

This, I realized, is the best rock band in Seattle.

Ferocious and loud, with messy feelings all driving at a specific pinpoint of an idea through a process of sonic expansion and contraction, so intent on expression that breakage may occur.

That was in January 2013. In the fall, IR released their third full-length album. It proved the point: These guys fuck with expectations.

Oak Head refines the unhinged energy of their live show, tames it into a more fluid ride. It’s mixed and engineered, a shave of the stubble that might otherwise roughen a live set. But even with its trad-jazz instrumentation, Oak Head rocks (thanks in no small part to Josh Rawlings’ scuzzy, filtered tone on the Rhodes). In this case, it rocks with an instrumental precision and intimacy native to trained jazz guys playing as aggressively and intuitively as any musicians in the city.

At the release of the album, IR left for tour. They spent 10 days circling the Northwest and then returned to Seattle and played a welcome-home show. That night at Vermillion—another unconventional venue melded to IR’s unconventional music—the band was even stronger, bolder than before. Songs from the album were intensified and augmented from the recording. The room echoed, pressurized with kinetic energy, breezy with release.

Industrial Revelation embodies jazz; jazz is meta-musical, embodying everything else. And so IR rocks. But really they’re just virtuoso musicians playing risky and loose. They are a joy to hear. They slide around the music scene, doing the thing they do, mercurial and misplaced and unsung. As outsiders, they fit right in.

Illustration by Tom Dougherty

Article on City Arts Website here.

Magma Fest Poster 2014

Magma Fest: Specs One, Industrial Revelation, Dex Amora, Cabin Games, Guests, Rogue Pinay

3/23/14

Magma Fest: Specs One, Industrial Revelation, Dex Amora, Cabin Games, Guests, Rogue Pinay
Written by Brittnie Fuller, The Stranger Recommended

The following is an excerpt of the article:

For those seeking jazz (*opens the flood gates*), Seattle quartet Industrial Revelation’s well-executed compositions are supercharged yet smooth, effortlessly building something that spreads over you like a marshmallow pillow of highly refined jazz fusion.

Full Article Here.

Industrial Revelation at Royal Room

How Industrial Revelation Got Me into Jazz—a Year Early

12/25/13

How Industrial Revelation Got Me into Jazz—a Year Early
Written by Emily Nokes, The Stranger

“Someone once told me that the year I turn 30 would be the year that I start buying jazz records. I was skeptical of this statement because (a) What? and (b) I am currently 29 and have been, for the most part, unintentionally distanced from jazz. Fast-forward to a few months ago.

The Royal Room was sold out, and even though we had tickets, it was standing-room-only. Barstools, tables, higher tables, benches—every single seat was taken by a party mix of people. Young hip-seeming kids, (very) old people dressed to the nines, exuberant funky-glasses-wearing adults, a person in a beret looking like the sort of person who wears a beret—they were all there! And they were all there to see the self-described garage-jazz quartet Industrial Revelation.

It was hard to know where to focus once IR were on the stage. The band—Evan Flory-Barnes on upright bass, Josh Rawlings on keyboard, D’Vonne Lewis on drums, and Ahamefule J. Oluo on trumpet—was spilling talent all over the place. The kind of talent that’s hard to describe without a cop-out string of positive adjectives (amazing!)—but it wasn’t just their individual chops that had the audience hooting, whistling, seat-dancing, or otherwise completely smitten. Each song was like a conversation with a group of really smart and funny people—everyone takes turns telling brilliant stories, but no one is talking over the others or blabbing too long because everyone is fully engaged. Sure, Rawlings can masterfully play two keyboards at once before jumping onto his stool and smashing out a piano solo, and Oluo plays trumpet like the charismatic lead singer of a rock band, but even the slower and more classic-jazz-sounding songs had a fresh energy I really wasn’t expecting. Later, I bought a few albums’ worth of their MP3s. It’s not exactly a record, but then again, I’m not 30 yet, either.”

Full Article Here.

D'Vonne And Dave Lewis at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute

Family Reviving The Sounds of Seattle Rocker Dave Lewis

12/3/13

Family Reviving The Sounds of Seattle Rocker Dave Lewis
Written by Paul de Barros, The Seattle Times

The following is an excerpt of the article:

“In the late ’50s and early ’60s, instrumental rock ’n’ roll bands shook, rattled and rolled their way through West Coast dance halls, with the “Northwest sound” of such bands as The Wailers (“Tall Cool One”) central to this vibrant, pre-Beatles scene.

An African-American musician who strongly influenced the blues-drenched music of these white rock groups — and who also popularized the whir of the Hammond B-3 organ in Seattle — was Dave Lewis. Though Lewis had several regional radio hits — “Little Green Thing,” “David’s Mood,” “J.A.J.” — he never broke out nationally and is largely unknown to younger generations.

Lewis’ son and grandson — Dave Lewis Jr. and jazz drummer D’Vonne Lewis — aim to change that. On Saturday, they are presenting The Dave Lewis Revue II, a tribute to the elder Lewis at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute.”

Full Article Here.

Oak Head Album Cover

Choice, Recent Local Releases (Oak Head CD Review)

12/1/13

Choice, Recent Local Releases (Oak Head CD Review)
Written by Bryan Lineberry, Earshot Jazz

“Industrial Revelation’s latest release, Oak Head, recombines the efforts of renowned, all-round-town musicians D’Vonne Lewis (drums), Evan Flory-Barnes (bass), Josh Rawlings (keyboards), and Ahamefule J. Oluo (trumpet) for a deeply sincere head-bopping, foot-tapping listening pleasure.

Much of the album has you slipping on your dancing shoes. “The Lake” puts an infectious upbeat rhythm into your body, pushed by Lewis’s swingin’ toms and Flory-Barnes’s jumping bass lines. “Saying Goodbye (to rainbow socks and hair dye)” shows IR’s willingness to step back and let their music breathe on its own. It’s that song you’ll hear in your head while driving home late at night, lost in reflection of events playing again and again in your mind’s eye, never wanting to let them go. The tune is by Flory-Barnes and manifests through an egoless, largely improvised line of musical communication led by the reflective flugelhorn of Oluo. Each member understands the weight of their own voices here and lets Lewis’s groove carry them from there.”

Industrial Revelation performing at Tula's Jazz Club for 2013 Earshot Jazz Festival

Some of That Jazz (What I’m Most Looking Forward to This Season)

9/11/13

Some of That Jazz (What I’m Most Looking Forward to This Season)
Written by Charles Mudede, The Stranger

The following is an excerpt of the article:

“It can be argued without much effort that the coolest band in Seattle is Industrial Revelation, a quartet that has a jazz foundation but is not musically confined by jazz. But why may IR be the coolest band in town? For one, Evan Flory-Barnes is the band’s bassist; for two, Ahamefule J. Oluo is its trumpeter; for three, Josh Rawlings is its keyboardist; and for four, D’Vonne Lewis is its drummer. Those are the four solid reasons, but here is the big question: Why doesn’t Seattle know that IR is probably its best and most promising band? Is it something like Edgar Allan Poe’s “purloined letter”? Something that is so obvious that it is entirely missed? Hopefully, the time of the Industrial Revelation will happen sooner than later.”

Full article here.

Ahamefule Oluo & Evan Flory-Barnes at Comet Tavern

(Industrial) Revelation at the Comet

1/26/13

(Industrial) Revelation at the Comet
Written by Jonathan Zwickle, City Arts

The following is an excerpt of the article:

“The problem is the word: jazz bears too much baggage, reeks of crusty antiquity, is easy to make fun of. The music Industrial Revelation played at the Comet Tavern last night had as much to do with jazz as did the music Radiohead played at Key Arena a few months back.

Industrial Revelation had more in common with post-rock, the climactic, cinematic music of bands like Tortoise and Explosions in the Sky and Sigur Ros.

Within the first five minutes of last night’s gig, bassist Evan Flory-Barnes ripped the fretboard off his upright. Yes: He was playing so damn hard he ripped his damn bass apart.

Josh Rawlings sat at a Fender Rhodes with a head-high rack of compressors behind him and wah-wah pedal beneath. He played the [Rhodes] like a guitar with a whammie-bar, making the ancient thing screech and belt and roar in analog ecstasy.

Aham Oluo was spare in his runs on the trumpet, often coloring the space around the melody rather than filling in lines. His horn was an instrument of pressurization; he blew with such force and volume you could almost feel the air shifting inside the club. Oluo lolled in sensual blue notes, mediating Rawlings’ gonzo organ spasms.

On drums, D’Vonne Lewis was impeccable and versatile, probably Seattle’s most undersung drummer of any genre.

The songs they played were beautiful, dramatic, psychedelic, funny, funky, swinging, punchy. So much breadth in a single tune; many were multi-movement pieces of six or eight minutes that would sojourn in unexpected interludes before returning triumphant to a principal theme. They had names like “No Tears for a Wolf” (an Oluo original) and “Shadowboxing in the Wind” (by Lewis). By the end of the set, Oluo was in his undershirt and the other guys were sweating through their sweater vests.

All night the Comet was the Comet—beer-stained, noisy, dim, brick and broken-down. There were regulars at the bar, hippies and hipsters and grandpas in the audience. It was perfect. The old music sprung from places like this, not from supper clubs or concert halls. Putting Industrial Revelation there on a Friday night was the best thing Seattle could do for jazz.”

Full article here.