Thursday, April 1, 2010

Touring With the HighLife

Posted By on 04.01.10 at 03:41 PM

Jason Ajemian & the HighLife
  • Jason Ajemian & the HighLife
There's little question that jazz musicians aren't leading the charge when it comes to using technology to promote their music or build their "brand." Jason Ajemian & the HighLife don't play jazz qua jazz, but the music is a big enough part of the quintet's makeup that I'm impressed to see that they've made a series of short promotional videos (billed as a "video tour blog") on their current U.S. tour. They played a handful of shows in Chicago last week, and they'll wind things up here on April 26 at the Skylark.

Granted, none of the videos provides the slightest inkling of what the music sounds like. If you're interested, you can hear a new track called "Monsters & Animals" here. But these absurd little clips do seem like a productive way to fend off road boredom (drummer Marc Riordan claims in an e-mail that they're "based on true events that have happened on tour"), and their comic sensibility ought to feel familiar if you know anything about the quintet's bizarre, freewheeling musical aesthetic, which can absorb any style or idea that Ajemian's cracked imagination produces.

So far the HighLife have made four episodes, the first of which is below. The rest can be found on the band's Web site.

photo: Vendela Grundell

Today's playlist:

Haco, Stereo Bugscope 00 (Improvised Music From Japan)
Lisa Moore, Don Byron: Seven (Cantaloupe)
Mike Pride, Scrambler (Not Two)
Little Anthony & the Imperials, The Best of Little Anthony & the Imperials (Rhino)
SJOB Movement, A Move in the Right Direction (Academy)

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