BEST R&B BAND - 2002
Like hip-hop purists, jazz players tend to chafe at the description of themselves as "R&B," and for similar reasons. R&B means soft, commercial, girlie-chicks-and-kids-dig-it; it doesn't usually refer to real musicians. So the members of Moveable Feast might already be writing half-flattered, half-pissed-off letters to the editor about winning this category. But wait, guys. I know you're all accomplished improvisational musicians, and you give yourselves plenty of room to prove it. And there was no "Best Electro/Jazz/Funk/Hip-Hop Hybrid" award available. Besides, R&B is a compliment around these parts--means you've combined the smartest elements of Seventies jazz funk with contemporary dancefloor acumen. The band's recent self-titled, self-released debut finds drummer Kevin Washington and bassist Jeffrey Bailey locked into irregular yet steady meters, often augmented by Truth Maze's added percussion. Up top, Tommy Barbarella varies textures, comps, and solos while Peter Vircks nimbly crosses stylistic boundaries on his saxophone. A sizable crowd has already discovered that just because there are solos doesn't mean you can't dance to it. More will soon agree with them.