Shawn Maxwell Presents ‘J Town Suite’

Chilled-out jazz noir licks roll through Shawn Maxwell’s spaced-out psychedelic chords of “J Town Suite.” With nods towards the jazz-rock fusion of Miles Davis’s “Bitches Brew.” The band’s interplay ties the experience together, as various instruments bounce off each other, resulting in a rich dialogue. A textural approach to the rhythm and melody results in an origami-like approach, with the sounds folding into each other. Layered to perfection, for all the different elements that define the experience, there is something outright liberating about how spaced-out and airy the experience is.

Heavy-set keyboards and a martial-like beat give “Steelmen March” a disorienting, multi-faceted quality. The highlight, “Fries or Rings in the Back,” has a cryptic quality. Horns and skeletal chords give the track a nebulous demeanor, always remaining just outside of focus, abandoning straightforward rhythm for something much more abstract. A substantial rhythm section lends “Herald’s New” a funky disposition. Whispered throughout the track is the eerie mood of “In the Shadow of Statesville.” Melodic sensibilities rise out of the stately “Jerry,” giving it a muscular demeanor as the buildup of the piece is a true joy. “Tap, Keg & Tavern” is hyperactive, with the drums particularly loose. A slower pace adorns the sheer communal spirit of “Hickory Street.” Unexpected angles take hold as “Bridge Closed” gradually becomes undone. Ending things on a minimal note is the finale of “Ghost Mall on Jefferson.”

Shawn Maxwell is an exceptional storyteller who creates a lyrical journey without saying a single word in the captivating “J Town Suite.”