Thursday, April 05, 2007

Son, let me tell you about the bird and the bee...

No, I'm not about to give you that talk one of your parents hopefully had with you when they realized puberty had hit and you were scoping out the other team. I'm talking about the duo of Inara George and Greg Kurstin, otherwise known as the bird and the bee.

Inara and Greg both bring strong musical backgrounds to this, their debut album. Inara is the daughter of Lowell George, frontman of the 70's southern rock band Little Feat, and she started her career playing in several bands in the Los Angeles area. Greg was a jazz piano prodigy and studied with Jaki Byard, best known as the pianist for Charles Mingus (famous hard bop jazz bassist and bandleader). The two put their heads together, with Inara focusing on vocals and Greg on the instrumentation. "Melodies would dictate chord progressions, or sometimes vice-versa, depending on where the vocal part wanted to go," recalls Inara. "The writing was almost improvised in nature."

With the album being put out be Blue Note Records, one would expect heavy jazz influences. Although there are some hints of Greg's early piano tutelage under Byard, the duo's music transcends the jazz genre boundaries. Inara's vocals sound delicate and sometimes, but not always, childlike. Many of the lyrics focus on relationships and loss, but the tone belies the unhappiness hinted at. Supporting her, and sweeping along the lyrics with sometimes organic, sometimes electronic arrangements, Kurstin adds a light touch with his melodies. The mixture of the two remind me very much of Au Revoir Simone's latest, The Bird of Music (which I've also been listening to lately and enjoying).

Their debut self-titled album was released back in January, and if you hurry, you can catch them on tour with Lily Allen.

the bird and the bee - Again & Again : the bird and the bee

the bird and the bee - I'm A Broken Heart : the bird and the bee

Visit their website, their label Blue Note Records, and become their friend on MySpace.


Charles Mingus - Better Git Hit In Your Soul : Mingus Ah Um

Au Revoir Simone - Sad Song : The Bird of Music

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