Heavy Ethics Electronic Press Kit
Band Name: Heavy Ethics
Hometown: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
What do you get when you take a be-bop jazz pianist (Rommel Reyes), a versatile drummer comfortable in odd meters and poly-rhythms (James Scott), a technically adept electric bassist/guitarist with an avant-garde bent (Chris Norman), and get them to compose and improvise? In the case of Toronto based Heavy Ethics, it is a creative trio that can go from chaotic to tightly arranged, atonal to lyrical, and sharply intelligent to humorous at their collective will. Listen and join them in their musical adventure!
It was the first time that pianist Rommel Reyes, bassist Christopher Norman and drummer James Scott got together. "What do you want to play?" No one really remembers who answered the question nor who posed it, because the sentiment was the same all around. The response was, "I'll try anything ... even if I don't know it".
And with that, a James Scott composition was played for the first time, but more importantly, the unsaid mantra of the Toronto group Heavy Ethics was established.
From the onset there were challenges and plenty of give and take. Rommel was a classically trained bebop jazz convert whose main influences were Charlie Parker, Bud Powell and the compositions of J.S. Bach. Christopher was not playing bass at the time and his influences were John McLaughlin, Ornette Coleman, mid-sixties Miles Davis and Andrew Hill. Outside of the jazz idiom, Paul McCartney, Robert Fripp and modern composer Elliott Carter were people he looked up to. James was an in demand drummer able to handle odd meters and on the fly signature shifts, who idolized Tony Williams, Roy Haynes and Jack DeJohnette and whose compositions pay homage to Stravinsky and Prokofiev.
Though each are musically headstrong, rather than clash, they took advantage of each other's differences, using them as flash points for creative ideas. Boundaries of musical genre and tastes blurred and they grew organically into a unit of individuals that welcomed differences in opinions and thrived on each other's ideas.
So what do they sound like? There are rock, funk, dissonant and classical elements for sure, but first and foremost, they are jazzers. Jazzers of the post modern vein unafraid to try anything. While compositions range from simple to complex, at the heart of it all is improv, a jazz sensibility and "in the moment" expressions.
From playing for free at dive bars across their city, to performing at more established clubs like the Tranzac and the Rex, and festivals like Nuit Blanche and Lab Cab, they've attracted a modest but loyal and growing following as varied as their compositions. How? By playing the way they live - at times unpredictable, complex, curious, funny ... sometimes structured, sometimes free, and always with that unabashed spirit.
As Oliver Arditi wrote in his review of their album Rhubarb, "... they create a musical statement that is aesthetically pleasing on a variety of levels, creatively uncompromising, sharply intelligent and extraordinarily accomplished."
For a full review of their album Rhubarb: http://oliverarditi.com/2011/06/24/heavy-ethics-rhubarb/
Waste Case Scenario (5:10) [right click on the link to download]
Composer: James Scott
Britney Sneer (6:13) [right click on the link to download]
Composer: Rommel Reyes
Sum of its Balls (11:21) [right click on the link to download]
Composer: Christopher Norman
Heavy Ethics CD Rhubarb for purchase at CD Baby
Rex (7:20) Composer: Christopher Norman
Live Performance: Cows/Waste Case Scenario (10:00) Composers: Rommel Reyes/James Scott
Excerpt from Oliver Arditi's review of CD Rhubarb
"What they do is to continuously transform the materials at their disposal, in a neverending quest for sounds that have strength, coherence, novelty and, frequently, humour... they create a musical statement that is aesthetically engaging on a variety of levels, creatively uncompromising, sharply intelligent, and extraordinarily accomplished."
Full Review of Heavy Ethics cd Rhubarb by Oliver Arditi
Excerpt from Jason Fonceca's write up of a Nuit Blanche show involving Heavy Ethics
"Another musical act which stood out for me was Heavy Ethics. I had a chance to catch them after their performance (as well as help them carry out a drum), and I was congratulating them on pouring so much expressive soul into their work."
Full write up of Nuit Blanche show involving Heavy Ethics by Jason Fonceca
From Corinne Cecilia, former contributor to Le Jazz Hot
"HEAVY ETHICS: Le Jazz rencontre le Rock -- là où les émotions sont instantanées, pures, parfois sauvages ; là où la musique ouvre notre esprit et nos sens pour nous révéler des formes d'expression uniques, nous interroger. Osez l'aventure !"