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Album Review

After about a decade-long hiatus, Human Feel are back with a vengeance and arguably their best album yet. Members Chris Speed, Andrew d'Angelo, Kurt Rosenwinkel, and Jim Black have not remained idle during that time and the experience they have garnered undoubtedly helped improve this communal project. They perform rhythmically and melodically varied material penned by each of the musicians as well as a piece by guitarist Hilmar Jensson, whose aesthetic fits the band like a glove. At first, what grabs the attention as well as provides the adrenaline rush are their sonic assaults. Saxophones roar and squeal over angular guitar riffs and thrashing drums. The foursome, however, is most impressive when it tones down the volume. The magnificent and swirling "Cat Heaven" is a truly innovative piece, while the delicate "Serenade" or the rock ballad "Allegiance" efficiently complement the playful and raucous compositions. Finally, an epic centerpiece works as a suite that summarizes the group's intentions and captures the various moods that inhabit the session. This influential and turbulent quartet has spawned a number of bands that weld the complexity of jazz with the raw energy of rock, but none has been as successful and fully realized as this one.


Formed: 1987 in Boston, MA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The members of Human Feel attended music schools in Boston and independently released an eponymous debut album in 1989, before recording the album Scatter for Gunther Schuller's GM Recordings label. After the departure of bassist Joe Fitzgerald, the Beantown quintet continued on as a New York-based foursome, reaching a peak of activity during the mid-'90s as the musicians all became mainstays in the city's so-called downtown jazz scene. During the '90s, saxophonists Chris Speed and Andrew D'Angelo,...
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Galore, Human Feel
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