Popular music has become so beholden to genre distinction it is difficult for truly original artists to get their music heard. I think it has to do more with branding than anything else. The consumer’s attention has become so fragmented and so bombarded with information from smart phones and computers that music promoters have to be very careful how they place an artist’s music for fear of categorizing them improperly. It is challenging enough for artists with lyrical content but for artists who practice in the instrumental world, as my friends in New York say, fuggetaboutit. Instrumental artists have a doubly difficult time because the powers that be tend to brand music without lyrics into the genre known as “jazz”. Stupid, right?
Jimi Hendrix did it, so too did Tommy Bolin and Eric Johnson does it all the time. Musicians, specifically guitarists who don’t need lyrics to express mood and emotion through their music. I am reminded of the Hendrix album, ‘Nine to the Universe’ that was one of the notorious posthumous releases produced by Alan Douglas in which he (Douglas) hinted Hendrix was going in a “jazz” direction. I am also reminded of the Billy Cobham solo album ‘Spectrum’ in which Tommy Bolin formerly of James Gang and Deep Purple showed his “jazz” credentials and critics still don’t know what to do with Eric Johnson’s music.
Eddie Arjun Peters is not a new comer to the music world but an artist to whom I have recently been introduced. His three-piece group Arjun has been together since 2003 releasing music that can be described as a true hybrid of improvisational jazz, rock and blues. The group features Eddie on guitar, Lamar Myers on drums and Andre Lyles on bass. Arjun is set to release the final album in a trilogy on July 29. The album called ‘Gravity’ follows ‘Space’ (2013) and ‘Core’ (2014) to round out the threesome. The new album is tight and the production is first rate. Arjun is joined on one track by Jeff Coffin (Dave Mathews Band) and on another by Cory Henry (Snark Puppy). Throughout this record, Arjun creates a subtle mix of jazz, blues, rock and soul and is well worth the price of admission. I would also recommend that while you’re at it, pick up the first two releases in the trilogy; it makes a great set and a few hours of pleasant listening.
Uncle Duke; a.k.a. Rob Penland is the producer and host of "The Mad Music Asylum" a 4 hour weekly syndicated radio show and now a 24 hour streaming internet station.