Streaming Concert_#263: Fiasco

An die Musik Live!

409 N. Charles St.
Baltimore, MD 21201

Fiasco

Guitarist Nelson Dougherty, who pens most of the compositions, demonstrates a mastery of the guitar itself as a vertical, textural phenomenon, as well as the possibilities presented by electronics and effects. His prowess here rewards repeated listening for hidden nuances and layers, and the overlap of lead and accompaniment.

Saxophonist Andrew Frankhouse provides the lead voice for the group, with a sound focused and penetrating, warm and sensitive, and sometimes screaming and breaking up. Augmenting his tenor with electronics allows him to play a textural role unusual for a horn, often layering further upon Dougherty’s guitar, leaving the listener wondering which sounds come from whom.

Stephen Arnold’s electric bass provides a rock and roll urgency, with a keen ear for groove. Not satisfied to simply play a role, Arnold’s sound and articulation fit the needs of each composition, sometimes deep and woody, others with a punk rock distortion, pick attack, and attitude.

Drummer Keith Butler provides a breath and life to the music, attentive to the spirit the moment, patient where necessary but never afraid to play the role of bomb-thrower. He is equally adept at generating a flurry of activity without overplaying and knowing when the moment requires a single note, or nothing at all.

Recording of their performance on 5/4/21

Andrew Frankhouse, tenor sax
Nelson Dougherty, guitar
Stephen Arnold, bass
Keith Butler, Jr., drums

Washington DC-based ¡FIASCO! began as a collaboration between saxophonist Andrew Frankhouse and guitarist Nelson Dougherty in 2016. The group was first assembled in a quintet format with a two-tenor front line, to perform a pair of concerts honoring Paul Motian at the historic Twins Jazz Club in Washington. After an enthusiastically received initial run, the group expanded its repertoire inspired by a variety of sounds including droning folk songs, jittery hip-hop grooves, grunge rock, and a variety of electronic and synthesized sounds.

‘Arson’, the group’s first studio recording, was named the top DC jazz record of 2020 by CapitolBop. Its release and reception culminated in the group's performance at the 2020 DC Jazz Festival. The equally sonically ambitious 'Post-Truth' was released in early 2021. Each encompasses a broad range of stylistic and tonal colors, equal parts contemplative and aggressive, searching and searing. Together these recordings represent nearly five years of distillation and focus of the group's musical vision, and construct a musical frame around the tragedy and absurdity of the year 2020.

Guitarist Nelson Dougherty, who pens most of the compositions, demonstrates a mastery of the guitar itself as a vertical, textural phenomenon, as well as the possibilities presented by electronics and effects. His prowess here rewards repeated listening for hidden nuances and layers, and the overlap of lead and accompaniment.

Saxophonist Andrew Frankhouse provides the lead voice for the group, with a sound focused and penetrating, warm and sensitive, and sometimes screaming and breaking up. Augmenting his tenor with electronics allows him to play a textural role unusual for a horn, often layering further upon Dougherty’s guitar, leaving the listener wondering which sounds come from whom.

Stephen Arnold’s electric bass provides a rock and roll urgency, with a keen ear for groove. Not satisfied to simply play a role, Arnold’s sound and articulation fit the needs of each composition, sometimes deep and woody, others with a punk rock distortion, pick attack, and attitude.

Drummer Keith Butler provides a breath and life to the music, attentive to the spirit the moment, patient where necessary but never afraid to play the role of bomb-thrower. He is equally adept at generating a flurry of activity without overplaying and knowing when the moment requires a single note, or nothing at all.

Drawing upon and subverting many sources and traditions, ¡FIASCO! explores a wide spectrum of sound, and their musicianship and range demands the audience and the band to keep their ears open, through near-silences and plaintive moments, and the screams, crashes, swirling delays, and dizzying obfuscations.

'Post-Truth', sophomore companion to ¡FIASCO!'s 2020 release 'Arson', was released February 2021. Different from but equal in sonic ambition to its predecessor, 'Post-Truth' presents six original compositions encompassing a broad range of stylistic and tonal colors, equal parts contemplative and aggressive, searching and searing. Together these recordings represent nearly five years of distillation and focus of the group's musical vision, and provide a musical frame around the tragedy and absurdity of the year 2020.

Streaming cost is $10
Donations are welcomed.

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