Indigo Jam Unit – Roots (2010)

Indigo Jam Unit - Roots (2010)
Artist: Indigo Jam Unit
Album: Roots
Genre: Acid Jazz, Contemporary Jazz
Label: Basis Records
Released: 2010
Quality: FLAC (tracks+.cue)
Monkey Trick [04:54]
Voyager [05:50]
Rain Man [06:21]
Un Sampling [04:25]
Anima [05:45]
Misty Grove [05:18]
La Tomatina [04:49]
Silhouette [06:37]


As the year draws to a close in Japan, you can be sure of a couple of things. Firstly, you’ll hear the cry of “Yaki imo” in your neighbourhood as the baked sweet potato van passes. Secondly, late night trains will be full of inebriated salarymen making their way home after various ‘end of year’ parties. And thirdly, you’ll be able to pick up a copy of the new indigo jam unit album.

Roots is the sixth release from the quartet who have built up a steady following over the years with their own unique blend of subtle piano melodies, funky basslines and heavy drums. All the regular elements are in place ~ some funky uptempo numbers, together with melodic slower numbers, and a ‘live’ feel to the recording with the four players coming together to create some really impressive aural landscapes.

Brush drums and an almost hypnotic piano riff and some funky bass mark the beginning of the album with the title track, Roots. This is classic indigo jam unit, and the kind of track that goes down really well live, especially when the twin drumming kicks in about two-thirds of the way in. Monkey Trick is a funky, somewhat mischievous number built around a heavy bassline that features some really explosive drumming, with the piano almost taking a back seat.

These two opening tracks are great introduction to the album, preparing us for an amazing journey that begins with Voyager, a dramatic number that takes us hurtling off to far away places with the piano riff combining nicely with the percussion and some really tight drumming. Rain Man sees things slow down for one of those beautiful, nostalgic tunes that can be part of a soundtrack to a film you create in your head. The tune is also featured on Tarue Yoshichika’s piano solo album Rain Man’s Story, released on the same day as Roots.

Un*Sampling has a jazzy hip-hop feel that opens with some piano playing that is made to sound like a vintage recording, the riff of which is then ‘sampled’ when the beats kick in. A nice jazzy mid-section then paves the way for some twin drumming in the closing section of what is a pretty catchy number. The tempo then picks up for Anima built around a looped bassline and afrobeat-influenced drums over which there is some smoking hot percussion in what will no doubt be part of the climax to the live shows next year.

But the journey’s not over yet. Misty Grove takes us on a luscious stroll through the tropics, with new surprises around each corner like a wide meandering river, leading us to the Latin-influenced dance number La Tomatina. Things finally wind down with the melancholy melody of Silhouette, another tune with a low-key cinematic feel that leaves you in a reflective mood.

Once again indigo jam unit have delivered the goods sticking to a winning formula with yet another fine set of tunes on an album that is equally as good as anything the band have released to date. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

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