Rog & Glenn’s music is explorative in nature and it has a blend of jazz, rock, blues, pop and progressive components with the use of multi instruments and voices. Their tracks are well developed, with excellent dynamics and atmospheres. Listening to their music it becomes obvious right from the start that Rog & Glenn are not only boundary pushers but boundary breakers. It´s amazing how many different musical styles and influences they are able to incorporate into their music. It’s not only the instrumental part of the music that is intriguing and varied. The same can certainly be said about the vocal side of their music. These guys can play and sing on a higher technical level than most of their independent contemporaries. Add to their toolset that they are also very skilled composers and it becomes clear that their fourth album, “Brevard Vol. IV”, has damn near got it all.
Album credits show Glenn Hubbard, a multi-instrumentalist, playing keyboards, bass, guitars, and auxiliary percussion. Both Hubbard and Brandon handle lead and backing vocals on the album and are co-writers on all the tracks. They are joined by drummer Jeremy Cayton who returns for his seventh project with Brandon and Hubbard, having played on their three previous Rog & Glenn efforts, as well as three albums with Collaborateurs.
“It’s like Jeremy can read our minds,” said Brandon. “He really understands our music and what he brings to the chemistry is unmistakable.” Elaborating on the recording, Brandon further explained: “We use improvisation – not just musical but also lyrical. We recorded long stretches of whatever comes into our heads. In the case of this album, we wanted to keep the entire session since it has such a nice musical flow and arch.”
“The improvs are our lump of clay,” concluded Glenn. “We toss it onto the potter’s wheel quickly, but the process of refining the music is painstaking.” What results for the listener, is an album characterized by its originality, complexity and diversity. Each of the compositions has its own individual personality, and each is intriguing enough to create a keen awareness of the band’s potential for genuinely forward-thinking music.
Moreover, from when the album opens with the ever expanding guitar-driven “Cascading”, the instrumental and vocal abilities of Rog & Glenn (and Jeremy), are so impressive as to leave the listener wanting more, though without giving the impression of ‘art for art’s sake’ so frequent in most progressive bands. “Asking For A Friend”, drops another meticulous composition and entangled melodies while bringing on muscle, with stable and propulsive bass, guitars, organ and drumming further enhancing the equation.
The powerful jazzy rock and fusion, of the three-track “Rollback Suite”, features the highly-regarded saxophone player Matt Vance. It is an excellent piece of horn-filled music, which twists and turns into a hurricane of arranging and performance wizardry. “I’m The Guy (Bars Of The Cage)” mellows out into a hazy and richly layered ballad, before Rog & Glenn (and Jeremy) turn up the groove knob on the rhythmic underbelly of “Power Couple”.
Moving ahead, songs like “Deeper”, the dark guitar crunch of “Pigeonholed” and the Floydish sounding “Polarizing”, fully represent the spirit of Rog & Glenn (and Jeremy) – from their complex vocal harmonies to intricate and eclectic instrumental passages. As one song rolls into the next, the listening experience becomes more and more intoxicating.
Assured, precise, creative, and emotionally evocative – Rog & Glenn (and Jeremy) are all of these things. From “Ring” to “Blowback” and “Then”, they continue to demonstrate a strong desire not to be swayed by the trends of current popular music. Hence we find a collective doing exactly what they wanted to do and showing a lot of chops in doing so. Rog & Glenn (and Jeremy) also manage to keep an extremely accessible sound despite the complexity involved.
“Time and Inclination (Meditation)” is a thirty-seven second interlude which leads to one of the album’s major singles – the brooding “Around Anymore”, which once again features Matt Vance’s sublime saxophone. Here, Rog & Glenn (and Jeremy), manage to integrate jazz and blues undertones without losing their air of sophistication and challenging arrangements, while comfortably blending organic warmth with technical grandeur.
All in all, “Brevard Vol. IV” is an exceptional work, characterized by excellent musicianship, eclecticism, and diversity. Rog & Glenn (and Jeremy) have cranked out one of the most solid, consistent and unique albums in their entire catalog.
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