Tag Archives: The Stranger

Industrial Revelation, Ted Poor, Coung Vu, Pete Rende

2014 Earshot Jazz Festival Preview
Written by Earshot and featured in their November 2014 Publication

This year’s winner of The Stranger’s Genius Award is a perfect frame for the cross-genre, cross-generation, cross-racial, cross-economic, ever-morphing magic that Industrial Revelation continues to create. The soaring amalgam of jazz, hiphop, indie rock, punk, and soul, is seamless, substantial, and enormously entertaining. The genius of this band is honest, open, and uncalculated. People dance at these jazz concerts!

The Seattle Weekly calls D’Vonne Lewis (drums), Evan Flory-Barnes (bass), Josh Rawlings (keyboards), and Ahamefule J. Oluo (trumpet) “effortlessly, constantly inventive.” Featured as one of “50 Bands Rocking Seattle Music Right Now,” Seattle magazine praised their live performance as a “sweat-inducing jam, with big horn crescendo’s, rapid bass solos, lightning strikes of keys and rolling thunder drums.” Industrial Revelation embodies the great Seattle jazz continuum; past, present, and future.

Read the entire article here.

2014 Stranger Genius Award Winners in Music

Industrial Revelation: 2014 Stranger Genius Award Winners in Music
By Charles Mudede

Industrial Revelation Accepts Genius Award

Make:
Jazz that fucks with punk, soul, pop, rock, and hiphop.

Are:
Enthusiastic headbangers.

Performed:
The catchiest tune of the year, “Saying Goodbye (to Rainbow Socks and Hair Dye),” at the Genius Awards.

One night while watching D’Vonne Lewis playing with a trio at the Vito’s lounge, it occurred to me that he just might be the most talented musician in Seattle. Raised by a family with deep roots in Seattle’s black American musical tradition, Lewis, a jazz drummer and the founder of the quartet Industrial Revelation, is not only a highly refined drummer, a drummer who has a complete command of his instrument, but also a drummer who has somehow managed to preserve at the core of his technical brilliance something that is like the initial, primal pleasure of the act of beating. If one listens to the great jazz drummers of the canon (Elvin Jones, for example), this raw instinct is pretty much gone. Theirs is a drumming that aspires to begin and end with mastery. Lewis, on the other hand, never lets his technical prowess completely erase the path that leads all the way back to that first joyful moment when one hits and hears the tautness of a drumhead. This is my impression of his musicianship in general and also the reason why I think he stands above all other players in this rocking city.

Lewis founded Industrial Revelation in 2005. It was, he once told me, the R & D (research and development) wing of his jazz career. And as a company or a country must subsidize its risky, failure-prone R & D programs, Lewis subsidized the time he spent on IR with income generated from his professional gigs. He had no idea where IR would go, what kind of music they would finally make, or whether it would work out. He just wanted the band to be as open as possible to different styles and ideas, and he placed it at the center of all of his other more traditional obligations. Nothing, he said to me again and again, was more important to him than IR. And as it was at the center of his career, he is at the center of the band’s sound. This, I think, is one of the important elements of IR’s greatness. It has its foundation in a drummer. And with black music, it is always drumming that separates one genre from another. We know house from the “four-to-the-floor” beat, classic hiphop from the “boom bap” beat, go-go from the go-go beat. The drum style names the music.

Nine years after forming this R & D program, Industrial Revelation won a Stranger Genius Award. The achievement is all the more impressive because the other nominees, Erik Blood and the founders of Hollow Earth Radio (Amber Kai Morgan and Garrett Kelly), were very strong contenders for the prize. Certainly one reason Industrial Revelation prevailed is that Lewis’s R & D project is not just about him but is instead a creative collaboration with three other extraordinarily talented local musicians. IR might begin with Lewis, but it does not end with him.

The band’s bass player, Evan Flory-Barnes, is a giant in his own right. One will spend a lifetime trying to find a jazz musician in this town who has something bad to say about Flory-Barnes. And with good reason. This bassist has achieved a level of mastery where the boundary between the musician and the instrument is practically absent. Indeed, one cannot even imagine Flory-Barnes doing anything else but playing the upright bass, and can’t imagine the upright bass doing anything but Flory-Barnes. This is not empty praise. Anyone who has watched him perform knows what I’m talking about. Like Lewis, Flory-Barnes has a reputation that’s firmly established outside of IR.

The same is true for Josh Rawlings, the band’s keyboardist. If you have not heard him play with this or that local jazz or soul act, then you have certainly heard him perform with the biggest name in hiphop today, Macklemore. But if you really want to hear the deep roots Rawlings has in America’s classical music (jazz), I really recommend downloading the Josh Rawlings Trio’s Climbing Stairs, which was released in 2008 and, judging from Rawling’s liner notes, was a kind of musical dissertation of his education at Cornish College of the Arts.

Then there is Ahamefule J. Oluo, the band’s trumpet player. What this musician and composer brings to the house that has its foundations in Lewis’s drumming is a sound that’s at once passionate but expresses a great amount of sensitivity. I might be wrong about this, but I think there are primarily two types of jazz trumpeters: those who blow outward and those who blow inward (Freddie Hubbard represents the former, and Miles Davis the latter). Oluo’s playing does not blend the two but instead moves between them from moment to moment, from track to track. Oluo is also a talented composer, a fact that was made clear at his 2012 Town Hall performance of his musical Now I’m Fine. (On the Boards is presenting the musical again this winter—December 4 to 7.)

It’s safe to say that without the contributions of these three musicians, the man who I believe just might be the best musician in (let’s expand the area) the Pacific Northwest would not have won the Genius Award in Music.

Read the entire article here.

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.”

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.

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.

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.