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The New Cool: 45th St Brass reimagine jazz in collaboration with Spekulation

Photograph by Peter Daniel
Seattle's 45th St Brass Band (l-r: David Marriott, Annie Jantzer, Trevor Parrish, Matt Goodin, Nelson Bell, Peter Daniel) gets back into action at the Clockout Lounge Feb. 15

Saxophonist Peter Daniel was excited to tell me about a new collaboration with his 45th St Brass band later this month. I heard what he told me, but I didn't quite understand. So we met up in Fremont to get to the bottom of an intriguing new way of hearing and playing music.

You know by now, the 45th St Brass find plenty of funky fun in the tradition of New Orleans brass bands, but they also take the opportunity to stretch the possibilities of this classic lineup of horns and drums.

Feb. 15 at the Clock-Out Lounge on Beacon Hill, the band welcomes an opportunity to stretch further with Seattle-based emcee and producer Spekulation. Over the course of several releases, Spekulation (Matt Watson) blends samples and beats with live instrumentation to create instrumental hip-hop records that represent Seattle’s deep and diverse music culture.

In early 2014, Spekulation's remix of a famous interview with Seahawks star Marshawn Lynch went viral. It's been streamed more than 380,000 times, and hailed by the tastemakers at Pitchfork magazine as one of the top songs of the year. It's barely a song, but incredibly catchy, showing off Spekulation's talents at constructing music out of seemingly disparate ingredients.

As Peter Daniel tells it, the night will bring "his latest instrumental hip-hop albums to life, combining our horn section and parts I wrote based on his original live band. His albums are created by getting a lot of Seattle artists to send in recordings from different studios, he produces it... puts it all together. It hasn't really been a fully live show yet."

They worked out a few ideas when they first met, both performing at the Doe Bay Fest last year, but this performance will be fully fleshed out and expanded into a brand new performance.

The Clock-Out Lounge show will include three sets. The 45th St Brass will begin with a set of their own music, followed by two sets working with Spekulation. "It will be Volumes One and Two.... his two albums of instrumental hip-hop," Daniel says. Think of it as deconstruction reconstructed.

Spekulation's previous live band experiments have teamed him with bassist and composer Nate Omdal from Seattle Jazz Composers Ensemble, who arranges the live rhythm section, horns and even adding strings to that eight-piece band. This show marks a new direction with an already established group.

You could call the resulting music funky instrumental soul jazz hip-hop, or forget lables and just enjoy the music. "They'll come up with a name for it," Daniel tells me. "Hiphop is the driving factor."

As for the 45th St Brass, we can expect a 45 (vinyl single) in the spring, with some possible remixes from other DJ friends to follow. Peter Daniel tells me the band will revive an instrumental song from their debut release, The Mothership and the Other Ship, as well as a Beyonce cover featuring the band's singer, Annie Jantzer. Until then, fill up on brass-hip-hop fun at the Clock-Out Lounge Feb. 15, and tune in for a song from 45th St Brass on The New Cool on KNKX Saturday afternoon!

The New Cool airs Saturdays from 3 to 5 p.m., hosted by Abe Beeson and produced by KNKX Public Radio in Seattle, Wash.

Abe grew up in Western Washington, a third generation Seattle/Tacoma kid. It was as a student at Pacific Lutheran University that Abe landed his first job at KNKX, editing and producing audio for news stories. It was a Christmas Day shift no one else wanted that gave Abe his first on-air experience which led to overnights, then Saturday afternoons, and started hosting Evening Jazz in 1998.