Claudia Quintet Royal Toast

Claudia Quintet Royal Toast
The best chamber jazz band in the world do it again with another challenging and successful set of dense ensemble work that succeeds on every level. Whether fiercely polyrhythmic or totally strung out and devoid of momentum, the Claudias swing with an identifiably jazz feel, but are at ease with a dizzying array of genres and techniques. What's always so scary about this band is the songwriting ― even if the listener doesn't know where the melodies are going, there's a distinct sound to each song to give it identity. And it's so tough! Sample-ready moments abound, whether in the dense, non-specific African textures of "Sphinx" or the chillwave-ready atmospheres of "Crane Merit," where rough, minimalist breaks hang on for trancelike minutes at a time like some post-rock fantasy gone mad. Guest pianist Gary Versace fits right in on piano, adding to the percussive richness overall and another fiendish solo voice in full-throttle rhythm fantasies like "Keramag." (Cuneiform)