BTTRFLY Quintet - Coast (Album Review)
4 November 2022
Album Rating: 4/5
Live Potential: 5/5
Diversity in Songs: 4/5
Favourite Songs: Coast, Buried Treasure, Good Things Come In 3s
Coast is something of a funky masterpiece. Tight rhythms, silky-smooth keys and scorching horns all come together in ten jams that reminded me of the likes of Roy Hargrove or Soil & Pimp Sessions. The album would not sit out of place among the great soul-jazz records of the 1970s, from Freddie Hubbard’s Red Clay to Herbie Hancock’s Head Hunters.
BTTRFLY Quintet hail from Denver, Colorado and are composed of musicians from touring groups like Big Gigantic, Break Science and Lettuce.
Eric Bloom features on trumpet with Borahm Lee on keys, Adam Deitch on drums, Hunter Roberts on bass and Dominic Lalli on sax.
This is the first production from the group under the name BTTRFLY Quintetm but their members can boast an assortment of Grammy wins and nominations, as well as collaborations alongside some of the biggest names in music, from Lauryn Hill to Kool & The Gang, Solange and Lee Scratch Perry.
Coast elegantly glides itself into life with its opening track, ‘Marauders’. A balanced and assertive groove underpins some gorgeous horn calls. The keys and electric colourisation add vibrancy and sweetness to it alongside expert production as if it were a track from The RH Factor.
‘Upperhand’ has more frantic percussion and Adam Deitch’s drums really shine out. It's got that classic jazz-funk, soul-jazz drumming, and not without a blistering sax solo to boot.
The title track, ‘Coast’, felt like the most Hargrove-esque tune and was a personal favourite. A four-to-the-floor beat gives the tune a relentless catchy feel with horns taking centre stage in the melody while the key chords stab at every beat. It’ll be one to get out for the dance floor for sure.
‘Tijuca’ brings back the frantic rhythms alongside euphoric horn melodies typical of soul-jazz. The synths add a colourful flair to the mix and were reminiscent of the rich flamboyance of a '70s Japanese jazz-funk record.
‘Buried Treasure’ is one track I’ll be playing over and over again. The synths and electronic vibrancy gives it that twenty-first-century brightness along with the funkiest beats, bass riffs and horn remarks imaginable.
‘Good Things Come in 3s’, as its name suggests, brings a frantic triplet rhythm, while ‘Flume’ brings electric colours alongside an ascending and descending horn melody.
The closing tracks of the album keep the funk ever flying with ‘Verti Marte’, ‘Moon Strut’ and ‘Scribbled Paper’ all too playable to skip.
The final track, ‘Scribbled Paper’, ends the album on a high, initially taking the pace down before a gorgeous drum beat marches the rest of the band to a glorious finale.
Coast delivers an irresistible funk and strut with the music almost begging to be heard live. On the studio side though, the production feels clean and polished while keeping that sense of spontaneous euphoria intact. Along with its nod to a '70s strut style; Coast has a modern flair to it. Sometimes it feels like Roy Hargrove, other times to Ezra Collective, but remaining uniquely itself.
It’s a fine album built on the foundations of joy and fun with a warm and uplifting tone. With winter coming up, BTTRFLY Quintet keeps the funk flowing and heat on.
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