Recorded in summer 2019 in France, after the release of their album Chapters, Kneebody’s Live at Le Crescent follows 11 albums of jazz/hip-hop/rock frolics sweetened, cajoled, and explored through the band’s unique New York-to-L.A. lens. Featuring the long-term lineup of Ben Wendel on saxophone and effects, Shane Endsley on trumpet and effects, Adam Benjamin on keyboards, and Nate Wood on his unique drums’n’bass cyber-meld, Live at Le Crescent is mostly made up of previously recorded material—and grooves like a midnight train in mayhem.
One of Kneebody’s peculiar skills is sounding like a larger ensemble, the quartet often recreating the sound of a small orchestra via multiple effects and Wood’s gargantuan skill set (he also mixed and mastered the album). Live at Le Crescent is groove-heavy, solo-heavy, improvisation-heavy, and super-satisfying.
Kneebody classic “Spectra” kicks off with Wendel’s torrid saxophone driving the band to frenzied heights; Adam Benjamin’s Rhodes piano is the comfort food that keeps the music floating; Wood’s hyperactive, time-chopping drum solo dissects the beat like a mad chef. “Drum Battle” is all odd corners and funny slides, like two tap dancers’ shoelaces intertwined. The song’s bulging beat supports a ragged New Orleans horn message, which is further warped by skittish delays, loop-like rhythms, and staggered melodies. Near the song’s midpoint, Kneebody hits harder terrain, signaled by the sound of Wood’s massive open bass drum. “Just to Be” is doleful and woozy, a hard morning after. “The Non-Profit Prince of Lexington” wakes slowly, twinkling keyboards and punch-drunk horns like Frankenstein recalling haunted dreams, while “Uprising” pulps crippled robot beats before busting into a hard-charging, Broadway-worthy revue sendup.
Live at the Crescent is the sound of Kneebody busting a gut—all eight knees intact.
Learn more about Live at Le Crescent at Amazon!