Now dEUS were a very fine band indeed, that sound of theirs and those little bits of arithmetic and oft-kilter washing machine suds and soda that flowed so so beautifully, and well when even the slightest hint of a dEUS flavour crosses out path then we do indeed forget about punctuation and sit up and take a little bit of notice (well a lot actually). And so this just came in “Hope all’s well. I wanted to get in touch about a new TaxiWars record coming via Universal on November 18th. Predominantly the work of art-rock luminaries dEUS’s Tom Barman and the gifted saxophonist Robin Verheyen, the album flits between jazz and the avant-garde, with some of the same playfulness and intensity prominent in those early dEUS records” and the writer of that exciting piece of communication shared there is indeed right, dEUS were playfully intense back there. Here then is a taste of TaxiWars, what’s the worst case scenario, surely this has to be good right? Let’s fire it up, yes… .
And the point of the communication was to inform us that TaxiWars are playing Latest Music Bar in Brighton on 26 October and Servant Jazz Quarters in London on 27 October, which is a very good thing indeed because until about ten minutes ago we had never heard of TaxiWars and now we are aware of them and we rather like what we hear and here’s some more. .
The new TaxiWars album is now playing here, this is good, this seriously good jazz food, experimental and yes, that same dEUS playful avant joy and yes, this is good…. a contender for the prize that’s never won….
And now we’re going to need a taste of Roses, not really sure how TaxiWars will feel about that but Roses was a fine fine fine moment and it cut the bullshit I confess and it still sounds as good as it did those many many lives ago when most things from way back there really don’t cut it that well when revisited.
Suds and Soda is where that idea of a washing machine on a slightly warped spin came from and there was always something in the air and sometimes…
And there was a time when Tim Smith, he of Cardiacs, lived in his long sleeved green dEUS shirt and it was a disaster when he lost it back stage at a gig, luckily for him, we found it and Tim and his treasured green shirt. Here’s a whole load of words from the press release, for those of you , who, like us, had not been paying attention…. A lazy catch up cut ‘n paste…
“The taxi has been making the rounds for over a year now, and it’s got the smell to prove it: an odd mixture of coffee breath, leftover Indian takeout, and a few empty cans of cheap lager under the passenger’s seat. That, and a smashing Pharoah Sanders album on repeat.
Ever since their debut album came out, TaxiWars has done dozens of shows across Europe, performing in everything from intimate clubs to jazz festivals and big scale rock gatherings. “Very soon I was convinced that this could be a working band,” vocalist Tom Barman said during the recording of their second album, FEVER. “We bonded very quickly, these guys are great musicians – obviously – and I like the our work ethic: we can make a record without losing two years of our lives. The clubs and jazz fests have been great, but we feel most at home at seriously alternative rock festivals. Places where you hardly know anyone on the roster, but where you can hear smouldering, bubbling music wherever you go.”
Barman, who is best known for his energetic shows with the rock band dEUS, takes that fervour into the studio with TaxiWars as well. Even during the live studio sessions for FEVER with saxophonist Robin Verheyen, bassist Nicolas Thys and drummer Antoine Pierre, he directs, fuels, electrifies the band with pointed fingers, nods, winks and clenched fists. “It’s all about finding a vibe,” Robin Verheyen adds. “At big festivals, people are yearning for a good groove. If nothing else, that’s what we have to offer. If the groove is deep, people don’t wonder: Hey, these guys are playing jazz. It’s music.”
But make no mistake. FEVER offers jazz in all of its 12 tracks. This is not rock singer Tom Barman crooning away with a jazz trio. (Verheyen, grinning: “I would never join a band where Tom would be singing classic jazz.”) Listen to the title track Fever, a sweaty, gnawing composition that would have made Charles Mingus proud; to Airplane Song, a minimalistic, breathy melody documenting the oppressive hesitation to open up within a relationship; to Honey, It’s the Blues, a sweltering blues in the same vein as Archie Shepp. Jazz all the way.
One of TaxiWars’s most ardent fans is New Yorker Ashley Kahn, concert promotor, jazz educator, and arguably the most influential jazz writer on the planet: “I already knew dEUS, but I love TaxiWars. They combine lyrics, poetry and jazz with a rock intensity – it reminds me of New York’s answer to hip-hop in the late eighties. They are not replicating it; they are drawing from that same kind of energy. It’s great.”
Vocalist Tom Barman has been fronting the indie-band dEUS since 1989, selling over a million albums along the way. He directed the 2003 film Any Way the Wind Blows, and oversaw two acclaimed jazz compilations: That’s Blue + Painters Talking (Blue Note, 2006) and Living on Impulse (Impulse!, 2012).
Saxophone player Robin Verheyen moved to New York nine years ago and has built a reputation as one of the great young talents in the world of jazz and classical music. He has released two albums with the Robin Verheyen NY Quartet, and has performed with such artists as Marc Copland, Ravi Coltrane, Narcissus, Gary Peacock, and Joey Baron.
Bassist Nicolas Thys was already a mainstay on the Belgian and Dutch jazz scenes before he moved to New York in 1999. He has toured and/or recorded with legends like Lee Konitz, Mal Waldron, Toots Thielemans and Zap Mama.
Drummer Antoine Pierre has been touring with Belgian guitar legend Philip Catherine and trumpet player Jean-Paul Estiévenart, among others. He moved to New York City in 2014 to study at the New York School of Jazz and Contemporary Music. In 2015 he received the Sabam Jazz Award for up and coming talent, and in late 2016 he’ll be presenting his Urbex project during a tour with JazzLab Series”.