When Trombone Shorty played the Tiny Desk I said that I was surprised to see that the leader of the band was a trombone player. Well, perhaps it’s not that unusual as Ryan Keberle is a trombonist as well. But unlike many recent jazz performers, Keberle & Catharsis aren’t showing off. As the blurb puts it, “he’s not after any high-concept framing. He’s just targeting the sweet spot where a nifty arrangement meets a solid groove.”
This band plays pretty traditional jazz (complete with upright bass solos and everything). Although, interestingly, their first song is a cover of Sufjan Stevens song (turns out that Keberle toured with Stevens). “Sister” is my favorite of their three songs. I really enjoyed when the full band kicked in after the intro riff from Keberle. The band has a vocalist, Camila Meza, who mainly does wordless vocal sounds. As the song nears its end she does sing lead vocals, and it’s quite pleasant.
Her vocals work pretty well for this song, but I didn’t like it is much later. That could be because “Sister” is a catchy pop song, where the other songs are jazzy. And I find her singing style to be a little lite-Fm for my tastes.
“Gallop” is a bit faster than the first song. It moves along at a nice clip and then stops for a bass and drum solo–very very jazzy. There’s a trumpet solo in the middle of song too (no trombone solos which is interesting, I guess). The other guys in the band are Michael Rodriguez on trumpet, Jorge Roeder on bass and Eric Doob on drums.
“Zone” opens with two contradicting three note riffs on both trombone and trumpet which is pretty cool. Then the song settles down to just bass drums and voice and Keberle playing the melodica (beloved instrument of Tiny Desk Concerts) which works but sounds odd in the mix. It seems like the song is going to end as the music fades to just bass, but it soon picks up again with anew trumpet solo.
I don’t love mellow jazz like this, but these players are excellent.
[READ: April 13, 2016] Solomon’s Thieves
I had this book on hold for quite some time. When it finally came in, I thought, hey this art looks familiar. And then hey, this book is about the Templar knights, what a strange thing that First Second would have two book about the Templar Knights. And then as I flipped through it I realized the author and artists were the same. And for a split second I though, they wrote two books about the Templar Knights?
And then it came to me that the first part of Templar was called “Solomon’s Thieves.” And that this is indeed the First Part published long before Templar actually came out in full.
So even thought I had read the whole of Templar not too long ago, I decided to read this as well As far as I can tell it is exactly the same as the first part of Templar. Although it’s possible that there are some minor changes, I wasn’t sure if things that I didn’t remember were just because I can’t remember everything, you know?
Perhaps because I had read the full book not too long ago, I really enjoyed this run though again. Since everything looked familiar, it was fun to pick up on things I missed the first time, and to see how things made a little more sense once I could tell who everyone was and what their roles were (there is something to be said for re-reading).
I’m including what I wrote about the first part of Templar here because it’s the same, but if you want more about the whole book or background about the Templar Knights check out the full post.
As the story opens we see Martin, a Knight, looking longingly at a woman, Isabelle. We learn that he had been “dating” her (or whatever they called it back then) and then one day he found out that she left to be married to the brother of King Philip. So he joined the Knights. As they march through the city, we see that they are drunkards and carousers. They get in all manner of trouble. And one evening they were heading back to Paris when suddenly the above dictum was established–all Knights were to be arrested. And Martin is one of them.
But through some excellent machinations (and good fighting) he escapes. And he soon joins together with a very unlikely band of merry men, including Brother Dominic (a real priest with the tonsure and everything) and Brother Bernard, a loutish drunken man who is not above thieving from people. Martin is offended at the thought of working with him, and they wind up at odds with each other from the start. Before the end of the first book, we see that they have a letter revealing where all of the Templar gold and jewels are hidden.
There’s a great bit of accounting work done in which the bookkeeper shows on his ledger that rooms were empty when in fact it appears that the gold was taken out on hay carts. The bookkeeper, even under torture, swears he knows nothing of the fortune’s whereabouts.
Mechner tells a really exciting story with humor and sadness. The fact that it’s linked to history is just a bonus. Another winner for First Second and their #1oyearsof01 anniversary.