Jazz and country might not seem like the obvious genres to try to bring together, especially if you are looking to build something with the widest appeal, but that is exactly what Chris Pastore does with his latest release, Turn The Music Up Loud. Obviously, some songs lean more towards one genre than the other, but when it works best it is because the two sounds are dancing deftly around each other. The straighter country lilts are made more adventurous and more unique due to the influence of the ornate and less predictable jazz moves. Conversely, the complexities that jazz often revels in is smoothed over in favour of a more mainstream and infectious sound.
There are songs such as Here’s To Better Days which seem to take a country funk groove and add in all manner of musical motifs and delicate guitar lines to make it more intricate but no less palatable. There is room for soft, jazz-soul ballads, in particular, It All Makes Sense which has more than a little of a later era Van Morrison about it, which is fine by me. And there are wonderful hybrids, (isn’t all music a hybrid in some way) the wonderful Yearbook Quotes coming on like a cool country croon but revealing itself through repeated plays to have wonderful hidden sonic depths where cool jazz currents ebb and flow.
It’s a great album, one which takes two (often more than two) styles and combines them in ways that will raise an eyebrow or two. But then if music isn’t throwing you, at least the most gentle of, curveballs, then it isn’t trying hard enough.
Turn The Music Up Loud is the best of both worlds. It juggles familiar sounds but creates something new and slightly unexpected along the way. People think that the music scene changes due to acts of sonic revolution. It doesn’t. It is all about evolution. And this album is the sound of the most understated evolutionary processes.