BTTRLY Quintet is a great band arising out of the pandemic and Coast is an epic debut. The band played a few shows live at Cervantes and has compiled some great stuff here from the combination of members of Lettuce (Eric “Benny” Bloom, Adam Deitch), Break Science (Borahm Lee, Hunter Roberts and Deicth) and Big Gigantic (Dominic Lalli). Its got some thick jazz roots with some funk jams and electronic cruises. This is not a melding of the industry veterans sounds but the forging of a new sound in the vein of great funk fusion bands like The Crusaders. Now for a deep dive –
Marauders attacks the water for a wavy deep swim feel before the horns come on with a great chorus. Borahm creates such a seascape vibe to this and the groove envelops you. The back third has Benny and Dominic trading licks before coming back to the main theme. The slow synth and drum rollout ends the track and I’m hooked.
Upper Hand has a super funky Deitch intro joined by some double bass and piano with a rhythmic shuffle. The horns soar for a short flight and then Hunter Roberts leads with some power bass and matches the horns with the main theme. Deitch and Borahm are a super machine pulsing together. Dominic has a bouncy, tight solo showing great range and stamina for the long run. This music excites as a great mixture of past and current cool sounds collides. Denver’s a helluva music hotbed right now.
Coast, a noun meaning the boundary of water and land or a a verb meaning moving easily. This song conjures up both – with the horn melody gliding over Deitch’s super chill beats. Hunter’s pervasive bass line and Borahm’s chill accompaniment is a perfect backdrop for extended solos, first by Benny on trumpet, then Dominic on sax. The flow of this tune is great, meandering for a nice glide but never to far out before landing back on the head. I know this album is gonna join those to be replayed many times for years to come.
Tijuca is a rainforest on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro – my curiousity never quits. This one does have a latin flair, perhaps with a tinge of referencing George Duke’s Brazilian Love Affair. It is another horn dominant tune with Benny having a particularly fiery solo. Borahm takes the lead in the second half with the horns echoing him. It’s quite a refreshing jaunt.
Buried Treasure has Borahm kicking off the adventure with a bell sounding melody. Dominic and Benny join forces as a balance against Borahm’s magical sounding keywork, swirling background and tubular bell foreground. Benny takes his first heavy effect solo on this one, a technique perfected on his usual solos with Lettuce. The guy can fly yet maintain control like no one else. Borahm really sounds great leading this one and the cat has continuously hit me harder each time I hear him.
Good Things Come in 3s feels like a classic right out of the gate. This one feels like an early Crusaders classic with absolutely stunning horn lines, Hunter’s fabulous double bass including a great solo midway through. Benny takes the next turn with a smooth interlocking with Borahm on keys as well. The theme is carried out to the end with Deitch accentuating it with flair. Stay tuned for the trumpet + sax second close as well.
Flume starts with some bubbly synth followed by Deitch setting the groove and the horns coming on with the flowing melody. The head has a nice balance of instrumentation and cohesion. Hunter takes a solid double bass solo near the halfway point partly playing the theme as the through line before being rejoined by the team. Dominic has a perfectly-toned tenor solo. It’s really incredible to hear these guys as tight as band that’s played together for decades. The transition back to the A theme is silky and floats into the ether with a return of the bubbly synth.
Verti Marti pops up as a cafe and sandwich show in the New Orleans French Quarter when you Google it. I was half expecting a different meaning but it all makes sense when you hear the NOLA influence. It starts off with a horn driven Meters like syncopation. Not surprisingly, Benny composed this one and it features a nice Borahm piano solo followed by a Benny classic solo. Hunter has another double bass solo, with the album really showcasing this sound in a strong way. Aside from the great listen, I’m definitely putting this joint on my hit list for my next NOLA visit.
Moon Strut starts on the low, low end from Borahm and Hunter with a horn section striking a commanding lead melody. It definitely a darker sounding tune, with some trills of brightness from Borahm. Near the midpoint, the horns increase the pace and Dominic and Benny take solid solos in turn. It suddenly strikes me that this and several other tunes have a Charles Mingus feel to them characterized by the ever present double bass with horn leads. Fond memories old and new.
Scribbled Paper juxtaposes Hunter on double bass with Borahm on spacey synth. at the start. Deitch kicks in with an acid jazz cool groove and the band settles in for a bouncy jaunt down some super dance grooves. There’s a bolt of synth chants and the full team sets off on a tight ass, trippy vibe. Benny slides through with some buttery valve work and it’s some of his best work. It’s an incredible finish to a wonderful album that I’m about to repeat over and over. Get it.
Borahm Lee, keys Jedi
Adam Deitch, drums Sensei
Dominic Lalli, sax Extraordinaire
Eric Benny Bloom, trumpet Master
Hunter Roberts, double bass Guru