Aleem Khan Theatre Junction Grand, Calgary AB, June 23

Aleem Khan Theatre Junction Grand, Calgary AB, June 23
Photo: Steve Louie
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Calgary's Aleem Khan debuted a new band and expansive sound at Theatre Junction Grand last night (June 23), solidifying his place as a born to be bandleader. He took to the stage in a shimmering kurta and combat boots, settling into the far right corner as if to shift the emphasis onto his bandmates.
 
Tenor and baritone saxes, a backing vocalist, drummer and upright bass player joined Khan, who was in charge of loops and keyboards. The band retained the warmth of Khan's work, bringing jazz and further experimentation into the fold. The set began with loops upon loops of Khan's vocals, drawing the audience into his soundscape. Playing cuts from his upcoming second album, Urbana Champaign, such as "Dark Chocolate," the band enthralled with rhythm changes and rich pop structures. "Jubilee Act II" featured Khan's pensive organ throughout the verses with playful lyrics such as "classic behaviour, of dicey flavour." The band bloomed during the chorus, a sax-driven lament, musically upbeat despite its anxious lyrics.
 
Although the set felt all too brief, concertgoers experienced a wonderful collection of songs that provided a look into Khan's constantly evolving musicality. One can only anticipate where he'll take his work next.