WOW BAND live at Black Star Club (Moscow)
"Today the Wow Band are not just a group. They've become a kind of community, a crew, and creative team, too... Since childhood, the members of Wow Band have admired and performed jazz, R&B, soul, funk, reggae, afrobeat, and hip-hop, too! Thanks to that wide experience, our music has tended to absorb an enormous number of styles and genres."
Lots of styles, not much space.
Numerous influences are mirrored by an equally large number of colleagues, as we see above. The band today has eleven participants (more or less!).
That core lineup consists of Sasha Babenko and Ul'iana Glushkova (both on vocals), Nikita Zel'tser (keyboards), Evgenii Nazarov (guitar), Anton Lymarev (bass), Anton Maksimov (drums), Aleksandr Kosilov and Aleksandr Sakharov (both on horns), Konstantin Likhovid (sax), Sergei Gimazetdino (trombone) and - last but not least - Vadim Bugorskii (twiddling on an Akai MPC).
Once the early players had been established, they began to see various parallels between the evolution of their public and private efforts. Success under the lights began to have direct and positive benefits elsewhere; there were lessons to be learned from teamwork.
An early credo aligning dance music with daily life sounded as follows: "Wow Band - for each of us - is a form of self-realization, effected through the kind of music that we love - and love playing, too. In Moscow - in fact across all of Russia - there are very few outfits playing this kind of material. You could count them on the fingers of one hand - especially if we're talking about bands with male vocals."
The band for each of us is a form of self-realization, effected through the kind of music that we love - and love playing, too
The use of male vocals in an outfit of this nature is indeed something of a rarity, which begs the question as to whether a unique line-up even needed to be bolstered by the more traditional, perhaps safer option of a female voice. The public expects - rightly or wrongly - for a standard/classic jazz-funk collective to be fronted by long legs and heels.
At this point in the proceedings, Glushkova (below) chips in: "I don't just sing! I bring everybody tea - and drive some of them around town, too..." Her self-deprecating quip works only because it's made among friends and colleagues who have fostered a sense of shared responsibility. Put differently, her offhand wisecrack about unfair effort is contingent upon an opposite, fairer state being true. That role of an equilibrium is equally important both in the workplace and in audible, musical forms.
Nonetheless, the presence of scarves in a "heated" studio suggests that somebody needs to get the tea. Playing that guitar in mittens will not be easy.
A collective outlook and/or communally fostered sound leads to a unexpected result: rather personal, if not very private lyrics in Russian. When asked how the members of Wow Band produce such romantic texts in difficult social times, they reply: "Lyrical music produces lyrical texts. It's all very straightforward." Songs of love come from a shared, semi-spontaneous style.
Lyrical music produces lyrical texts. It's all very straightforward...
Somewhere in the give-and-take of eleven people lies the framework of mutual understanding. Parallels are slowly drawn between improvisation, intuition, and mutual respect. As Francoise Sagan famously said of jazz: "It is an intensified feeling of nonchalance." It creates the easy, consoling sensation that change and chance are both possible - through interaction and compromise.
The three Wow Band compositions in this post are, as a result, subjective songs woven from joint effort. "We're doing this for ourselves," they say. "We try to combine the ideal with the rational." It's a marriage of aspirations and expertise, private whim and objectivity.
- from farfrommoscow.com
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