KG & The Storytellers have released an auspicious debut album. They have a unique sound that combines elements of pop, jazz, and funk. It is the way the instruments come together that is unique as the saxophone, guitars, and keyboards make surprise appearances as they flit in and out of the overall sound. Through it all the bass and drums lay down a solid foundation. It is all helped by the impeccable production that allows each element of their music to be heard individually and collectively.
They are a big, sprawling band consisting of percussionist Rufus Brothers, bassist Steve Johnson, saxophonist Frankie Moniz, saxophonist/guitarist Cameron Brennan, vibraphonist/glockenspiel player Ryan Kowal, violinist Yanna Kiriacopoulos, pianist Dennis Hughes, vocalists Brittany Thompson & Kassie Lufkin, lead guitarist Robert Hanna, and songwriter/vocalist Kevin Main. It all adds up to a calliope of sound that contains surprises around every bend.
It is the saxophones that define the sound and tie it all together. They are at heart improvisational jazz that serves as a counterpoint to the underlying rhythms. Kevin Main’s voice is more pop than jazz but has a good quality to it. The female voices, on the other hand, have a jazz flavor to them.
“Enlightened One (The Buddha Song)” is the album’s lead track and presents their sound in microcosm. It is an easy flowing piece that focuses on Main’s vocal, until the saxophone accentuates the jazzy side of their music. “Voices Of Reason” blends the voices of Main with Brittany Thompson and Kassie Lufkin. I am not sure which female voice is which, but it is a clear and powerful instrument that one wishes would have been highlighted more often on the album. “Walking Aound” is quieter and has a poignant feel to it. The title song has an odd psychedelic quality to it, while “Phenomena” feels like it emerged from a smoky New Orleans lounge late at night.
KG & The Storytellers have created a memorable fusion of sounds. The music has a depth with textures that can be explored through repeated listenings. The sum is a very different but excellent album.