Interview and story by J Hunter
Photographs by Rudy Lu from the Chronicles’ record release party at Red Square, 10/25/13
Here’s a tip: If you want to see the Chronicles in concert (and I mean really see the actual band members do their funked-up live thing), get next to the stage right before the show, because once trombonist-bandleader Bryan Brundige counts his partners in, the crowd floods the dance floor like pea-soup fog on a dark night in London.
That wasn’t so bad at last year’s drop party for the Chronicles’ eponymously titled debut disc because the stage at the Bayou Café (now the Hollow Bar + Kitchen) is somewhat raised. But the drop for this year’s model – the digital & vinyl-only release Spanning the Gap – took place at Red Square in Albany on Friday night (October 25), and while that NOLA-flavored downtown club is some kind of awesome, its performance space doesn’t have a stage as much as it has a three-sided cubicle with monitors and speakers. Thirty seconds into the Chronicles’ opening number, the band had disappeared behind a major chunk of the most diverse fan base in Greater Nippertown. If he’d brought a stool with him, Brundige could have stage-dived and never touched the floor!
You can fight it if you want, but my second tip would be to find a space of your own and proceed to dance your ass off. It won’t be too difficult, given that the Chronicles’ heady mix of jazz, hip-hop and funk is the freshest thing on the menu. One moment you’ll have saxman Jeff Nania name-checking the late great J. Dilla and rapping as well as he plays on the title track of Spanning, and the next, the sextet is laying down a monster take on Grover Washington Jr.’s “Mister Magic” that brings new life to Smooth Jazz radio’s version of “Stairway to Heaven.”