Off the Clock with Kneebody
By Ryan Chen, Intern and current Stanford MS&E PhD candidate
If we were to follow around the members of the genre-defying group Kneebody (who perform at the Bing on February 17), we’d see that the dynamism of the music they make together is driven by the various and diverse projects they take on when they’re apart. The group’s members have performed and/or written in almost every imaginable space of instrumental music. To take a closer look, I’ve found one example of each member’s not-Kneebody work—enjoy!
Kaveh Rastegar – Bruno Mars's “The Other Side”
Among his many writing and performance credits, the most widely heard one is probably his co-writing credit on Bruno Mars’ “The Other Side,” featuring Cee-Lo Green and B.o.B. He’s also written for De La Soul, Meshell Ndegeocello, and others.
Ben Wendel – The Seasons Project
Ben Wendel, the saxophonist of the group, wrote twelve duets inspired by each of the calendar months and invited musicians he admires to play them with him. The list of collaborators on this project reads like a “who’s who” of jazz today. Wendel’s collaboration with Luciana Souza on June is one of my favorites of the set.
Nate Wood – Donny McCaslin
Nate Wood, Kneebody’s drummer, plays with many of my favorite artists (seems like he and Mark Guiliana trade gigs back and forth), including the Bay Area’s own Donny McCaslin. This set contains songs from McCaslin’s 2015 album “Fast Future.”
Shane Endsley – Ben Allison Band
Shane Endsley, Kneebody’s trumpet player, played on one of my favorite records, Ben Allison’s 2009 album Think Free. This cut is from that album and is a good representation of the dark, lyrical, rock-infused sounds on the rest of the record.
Adam Benjamin – Red Oak Duo
Adam Benjamin, the pianist of the group, has a duo project with guitarist Storm Nilson called Red Oak Duo. The music here, like much of what we’ve seen above, transcends genre labels and boundaries, but could be described as a melding of jazz and Americana folk sounds.
So, what do you get when you combine musicians who have interests as widely varying as the ones in this group? Just music that defies expectations, taking on any characteristics from any nominal genre as befits the occasion to make the most compelling musical statement possible.
Kneebody + Daedalus – “Drum Battle”