Mumpbeak’s “Tooth” takes a bite out of jazz stereotypes

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Mumpbeak creates jazz related rock that leaves listeners wondering where one genre begins and one ends. Key songs from the new album, “Tooth,” exemplify the band’s unique approach to making music.

Mumpbeak’s progressive rock ethos

Mumpbeak is a British band that formed in Norway. The group plays rock music that is put together like jazz songs. Or, a jazz outfit with a progressive rock sensibility. Either way, the result is a driving beat usually associated with rock music, but the arrangements, and the moody application of bass and drums, definitely sound like jazz.

 

Clavinet. Photo by rockheim, CC 2.0, via Flickr.

Mumpbeak’s unique lineup and instruments are key to the band’s sound. The group’s founder, Roy Powell, plays a platypus of an instrument called a Horner Clavinet. The Clavinet looks like a piano with about 60 keys–there are different varieties, but plays the sounds and textures of an organ, guitar, and bass, in addition to keyboard tones. In addition to Powell, there are four bassists, and for this album, Elephant 9 drummer Torstein Loftus,

This is music that resists Top 40 packaging. The shortest songs are almost four minutes long on the new album, “Tooth,” and the longest ones are approximately seven. The instrumental pieces will probably remind some listeners of 1970’s progressive rock icons like Edgar Winter Group, Gentle Giant, and Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

 

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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