As their press release says, “This is a jazz band with a deep knowledge of the music’s history, and a love for the driving jazz of the early sixties on the Impulse! label. The music of Pharaoh Sanders, Archie Shepp, and Charles Mingus – full of swing, pulse, and the urge to break out of the genre’s confinements.” Could anyone ask for anything more?
Mingus is no stranger to Barman – a sample of the bassist’s ‘Far Wells, Mill Valley’ dominated dEUS’s classic ‘Theme from Turnpike’. And like Mingus himself, TaxiWars can sound warm and engaging one minute – as in the hypnotizing track Pearlescent –, yet bellicose and menacing the next. Listen to ‘Let’s Get Killed’ (“Bangkok felt like suicide! ”) and try not to be alarmed by Barman’s effects drenched vocals. Barman: “At home, I listen to jazz almost exclusively, trying to escape from the tried and true pop structures – there are no choruses in TaxiWars. And those record sleeves fit well with my Impulse! orange furniture.”
This is high energy and sensitivity, pride and ambition, and a punkiness that sets the band apart from the plush jazz scene, all thanks to Belgian saxophonist Robin Verheyen’s punchy, melodic lines and Tom Barman’s haunting lyrics. “The idea came to me four years ago, when I first met Robin, ” Barman says. “I knew he could deliver the goods: we’ve recorded together with Magnus. I wanted TaxiWars to be sharp, to the point, punky and trashy Long solos were no-go.”