What Kind of Music is This?

Between sets at Fox & Crow in Jersey City, a man sitting at the bar, near the performance area, said, “How would one classify your music?” He looked like a rock’n’roller in his 40s—he had the bowling shirt with a name, maybe his, stitched in red on the pocket—but it turned out he was also into King Crimson and Miles and a lot of our influences.

“Yeah, we’re not sure either,” said Anna, “but we call it ‘punk-jazz fuzz-rock.’”

This dude, a good dude, cool to talk to, didn’t accept our description. “Is it fusion?” he said.

“I’m afraid of the word ‘fusion,’” I said. “It’s gotten wanky. Fusion has gotten wanky since Miles.”

“We don’t want to call it prog,” said Anna.

“Oh, it’s definitely not prog,” said the dude—though, later in the night, the three of us had a long conversation about King Crimson, who may or may not be prog considering one’s
definition.

King Crimson
King Crimson circa 1972

“Call it 70s fusion,” said Kipp. (I’ve decided the name on the shirt is actually his, not just thrift store happenstance. Somehow, introductions were never properly made, or maybe drunkenly forgotten, though we hope to run into him again, possibly as per this writing.)

“But then it sounds like we do Miles and
Mahavishnu and Weather Report covers.”

“Oh, no,” said Kipp. “You don’t have to do covers. Just keep doing what you’re doing! The way you use saxophone, the way she plays, it sounds like an electric guitar, it takes place of the electric guitar. It sounds like she’s using effects, even though she isn’t.”

Anna smiled.

“Right!” I said. “It just sounds, you know, like we do covers if we say—”

“Call it 70s style fusion,” said Kipp.

Later, during our second set, between our tunes ‘China, North Carolina’ and ‘Slayer Jazz,’ Kipp turned to a friend, who had come into Fox & Crow as the set started, “How would you classify this music?” I heard him say.

*

At another venue, in another state—Test Pattern in Winston Salem, NC—the club’s soundman came onto stage after our set, excited by our newest material. “I don’t think ‘punk-jazz fuzz-rock’ does your sound justice,” said Jenkins. “I think you should call it ‘Cinema Rock.’” I like this, but what does it mean?

photo: Roger Piche
photo: Roger Piche

*

A quote often attributed to Miles Davis, though I’ve heard it attributed to others, and it’s probably been invented and reinvented many times: “There are only two kinds of music: weird music and boring music.” No, that’s not the quote. You know the quote.

*

Come see us in Harlem this weekend: Friday, August 4 at Shrine; Saturday August 5 at
Silvana. Both sets 9-10pm.

—John Paul Carillo

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