We are very excited to premiere “Sweet Orange”, one of the drum-heaviest cuts on the forthoming album by experimental fourpiece Snaarj.
Snaarj consists of alto saxophonist Josh Johnson, tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi, drummer Ben Lumsdaine, and bassist Bobby Wooten. Their new album, “Snaarj II’ is their first since 2013’s ‘Levels’. In fact, their first day in the studio to record this new album was their first together in nearly a decade.
Having met whilst studying jazz in Bloomington, Indiana, and forming Snaarj, the group toured heavily and recorded two albums together, but after releasing ‘Levels’ in 2013, the members’ careers took them in different, time consuming directions.
Johnson moved to LA, studied with Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock and is currently musical director for Leon Bridges. Following a growing discography of recording dates with the likes of Makaya McCraven, Carlos Niño, Jeff Parker and Mark de Clive-Lowe, last year he released his acclaimed debut LP, ‘Freedom Exercise’.
Laurenzi formed the Chicago-based jazz band Twin Talk, performed & recorded with the likes of Jeff Parker, Marquis Hill and Makaya McCraven, and toured extensively with Bon Iver as part of a five-piece saxophone choir. His 2020 album leading the Natural Language, ‘A Time And A Place’ made a significant impact on us too.
Alongside dates alongside Jennifer Lopez, Mac Miller, Jennifer Hudson and Rick Ross, Wooten composed music for the television show Empire and backed David Byrne on his recent American Utopia tour. Lumsdaine focused on producing and engineering, working on albums by Amy O, Kevin Krauter, and Mike Adams at His Honest Weight, in addition to releasing music with his indie rock outfit, Spissy.
Finally the quartet found time to reunite and record a new album, bringing a host of new ideas to the table, whilst relearning their previous chemistry. “Making this record was a nice exuse to get us all back together,” says Lumsdaine, “it felt like the completion of a circle”.
‘Snaarj II’ weaves together elements of old r&b, jazz, post rock, classical and avant garde. Defying category, lurching from soundtrack worthy ground to a sax-wheelding rock band. The band share that, “”Sweet Orange” is built around a dense, multi-layered drum groove. The drums are the centerpiece, with bass, flutes and clarinets all dancing around inside of these different pulses. Strong party vibes on this one.”
‘Snaarj II’ is released on June 4, and can be pre-ordered and, from Friday, downloaded, on the group’s bandcamp page.