Quintology Reviews

OffBeat, June 2000

"Blues By 5" Review

In a remarkably short period of time, this young quintet has established itself as one of the most unique and consistently compelling modern jazz units in New Orleans. Far from slipping into a sophomore slump, this second release shows that they've skipped to the head of the class and graduated early.

Blues By 5,like their debut record, contains all originals contributed in turn by each band member, but these ten new tunes exhibit a higher level of skill, profundity and grooving intensity. The wonderfully raw, hungry quality that permeated the first record is tempered by a new degree of maturity and poise, allowing them to more gracefully explore the wide range of styles and ideas that is their passion.

This record also provides a showcase for their current lineup, since trumpeter Mark Rapp left last fall for New York and has been replaced by guitarist Brian Seeger (who was already affiliated with the group as a producer and frequent guest player). The group's texture is greatly enhanced by Seeger's rich and versatile guitar sound, especially when he doubles up with Brent Roses' sax on blistering melodic lines.

The artistic centerpiece here is the stunning 15-minute exploration "India," written by drummer Mark DiFlorio. A slow, extended drum solo with primordial undertones gradually becomes more intricate and segues into a dreamy, abstract melodic section with piano, flute and an eerie, slack-key sounding guitar. Spacey synth-organ effects (ed: actually a guitar!) compliment a prayer-like arco bass feature by Brady Kish, then the song shifts into a more aggressive swing section with burning improvisations from guitar, sax and drums - this time DiFlorio goes in the other direction, from complex to primitive-and the song resolves with a restatement of the dreamy, abstract section.

"Saga,not raga"- that's how Tim Green, who produced this record (also a prominent local sax veteran), describes "India" in his superb "free association" liner notes. The track is lush and cinematic in scope, effectively evoking a journey through a mysterious world, and it offers a glimpse into the wild excursions this band is capable of embarking on in live settings.

Many of the other tunes are more groove oriented, such as the funky opener "Reality Check" and "Jacanabac," featuring soulful work on the B-3 organ by keyboardist Charlie Dennard. Dennard also plays B-3 on "Leap Year Stomp," a romping street parade tune with a second line groove (complete with tambourine for Mardi Gras Indian feel) reminiscent of Memphis soul and early instrumental Meters. The title track swings sublimely in 5/4 time with a loping shuffle groove similar to Brubeck's "Take Five," while Dennard's bluesy work on acoustic piano at times suggests Les McCann. The hidden last track, "African Violets," is a short, poignant closer, another gem from the pen of DiFlorio.

Clearly, Quintology is determined to achieve greatness. Blues By 5 suggests that they are destined for it

-Jonathan Tabak

OffBeat, December 1998
CD Review (of the first disc)

Look out! The young lions are coming out of the den. Emerging from the U.N.O. Jazz Studies program, Quintology is the kind of group that could make even top-notch veterans want to go woodshed a few days.

From the first notes of "Kirotedo," an ingenious original composition by tenorman Brent Rose, we know this is much more than young guys "proving themselves" on the predictable standards and classics. The tune begins with a droning, meditative storm from Rose’s tenor, like Pharaoh Sanders with a punk edge, and then opens up into a fast paced, pulsating bass groove. Mark DiFlorio’s drums radiate with melodic splashes, syncopated accents, and dashes of street soul. (The influence of Johnny Vidacovich is pronounced, as with most young New Orleans drummers.)

There is a surprising level of polished adventure on this independent debut, superbly produced by guitarist Brian Seeger. All eleven tunes are originals, contributed by different band members. All five musicians are establishing themselves individually on the local scene, in various groups and styles, so each brings a unique perspective to the table, but they have clearly devoted the energy and time necessary to play as a cohesive unit. These complex originals could have sounded forced and stale; instead, they sound natural and easy. You can tell they’re having fun interpreting each others music.

Other highlights include trumpeter Mark Rapps tune, "Committee," with good solo work from Rapp and pianist Charlie Dennard. Dennard can get funky as hell, but shows restraint and poise here, hinting at a Latin dance melody without giving into it fully. Rose’s other songs are interesting, such as the super-catchy "Ohbobabebop," "Green Cigarettes On a Red Hot Day," and the more introspective ballad, "For a Smile." Bassist Brady Kish’s tune "A Night in February" shows the bands willingness to go "out there," as a tight, stop-and-start melody gives way free-form group improvisation.

In New Orleans, we’re almost accustomed to dazzling young jazz players coming out of the woodwork, but rarely do they emerge with so much originality and cohesiveness.

-Jonathan Tabak

Baton Rouge Gambit Weekly, July 1, 1999

99 Degrees?

How many times have you heard the term "hot jazz" or "warm jazz sounds"? It’s almost never just "jazz" – but if you’ve ever seen or heard the contemporary stylings of Quintology, you know why. Based in Louisiana’s cradle of jazz, these five young lions keep busy performing their original modern compositions at venues across the state and Southeast. The band, whose versatile members also devote a fraction of their time to side projects such as New World Funk Ensemble and the New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars, wowed audiences at Bonne Fete and played to a packed house at M’s in April. Bassist Brady Kish confirms that Quintology will play the Capital City about once a month, performing songs off it’s eponymous debut CD and new works that may make it onto a second disc by year’s end. The quintet- whose collective good looks and hip sound easily could make it jazz’s answer to N’Sync, the Backstreet Boys and 98 Degrees – revisits M’s this Saturday, just three weeks before it will be featured on a live radio and internet broadcast from New Orleans’ prestigious Snug Harbor. The guys have also been working on a website that should be up and running by summer’s end. But why wait – check them out this week at M’s to get the jump on the hordes of screaming little girls.

-Maura York


Gambit Weekly, March 30, 1999

CD Review

On this self-titled, self-produced CD, the music illustrates the ambitious nature of Quintology’s young New Orleans-based members: trumpeter Mark Rapp, saxophonist Brent Rose, pianist Charlie Dennard, bassist Brady Kish, and drummer Mark DiFlorio. From the opening bars of Rose’s "Kirotedo", it is clear this jazz band isn’t going to take the safe path to acceptance, but instead pursue it’s collective and individual imaginative goals.

Quintology does so in a spirit of cooperation, keeping the ensemble work tight while allowing the music and musicians freedom of expression. It is an attitude that continues throughout this collection of all-original material. This selflessness is found not only in the music but in the compositions; it is bassist Kish who introduces trumpeter Rapp’s swinging "In the Moment". That spirit continues with some thoughtful soloing by keyboardist Dennard. On another Rose piece, the quirky ""Almost 4"" the drums of DiFlorio, not the saxophonist, first take center stage. Some quieter moments round out the disc, including the lovely ballad "For a Smile," which is softened by Rose’s breathy sax.

Quintology is definitely a group effort, and a hard-hitting one at that. It’s a debut that often takes a walk on the wild side as the players flex their chops, resulting in a stroll that’s exciting while comfortable.

-Geraldine Wyckoff


OffBeat, July 1999

Straight No Chaser

One local jazz education success story is Quintology, a hot young group that has emerged from U.N.O.’s Jazz Studies program to take the scene by storm. In a city teeming with young jazz talent, what makes Quintology special is that they embrace an ensemble aesthetic rather than the leader-sideman formula, perhaps taking a cue from local super-group Astral Project. The members, Brent Rose (tenor), Mark DiFlorio (drums), Mark Rapp (trumpet), Charlie Dennard (keys) and Brady Kish (bass) are all involved with numerous projects, but with Quintology, they pool their energy into a coherent, inventive voice.

The band’s recent self-titled, independent debut is an audacious achievement, relying entirely upon original compositions contributed by each of the members. The record swings with freshness and intensity, sincere emotion and tight interplay, making it remarkably accessible despite the complex charts. Besides impressing Grammy-winning trumpeter Nicholas Payton enough for him to want to do the liner notes, the record has won rave reviews (including one in the December ’98 OffBeat).

Quintology has also distinguished itself as a live act, having won the "Jazz Kings Competition" sponsored by Le Meridean Hotel during Mardi Gras for two years running. In July, the band plays Snug Harbor on the 25th, a show which will also be broadcast live via community radio station WWOZ 90.7 FM (www.wwoz.org). They also appear at the Dragon’s Den on July 1st and Le Meridean Hotel on July 13st.

-Jonathan Tabak

New Orleans Magazine, July 1999

People to Watch

Quintology was almost called Four Screws and a Nut but the original progressive modern jazz quintet, made up of Mark Rapp (trumpet), Mark DiFlorio (drums), Brady Kish (bass), Charlie Dennard (piano) and Brent Rose (saxophone), decided against that name in favor of Quintology. Formed from the University of New Orleans Europe Combo, the group recently released it’s self-titled debut CD.

Featured locally at musical meccas such as Snug Harbor, Tipitina’s, Dragon’s Den, and Mermaid Lounge, Quintology’s next move is to branch out beyond the city, with a tour planned for the East Coast and Canada. Plus, they each perform in outside bands, including the New World Funk Ensemble, Galactic, and Iris May Tango, among others.

>Quintology has won the Jazz Kings Competition held on Lundi Gras at Spanish Plaza both years it was held. The studio time included among the prizes offered the group the chance to record it’s CD, which was produced by Brian Seeger and included liner notes by Nicholas Payton.

In addition to performances, Quintology has started bringing it’s music into schools and teaching workshops locally. And on that note, let’s just say that they’re music to our ears.

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