Jared Sims, Hellbender: The Resistance Review
by Stamish Malcuss
Pushing against the genre-defying sounds of traditional jazz is Jared Sims’ Hellbender: The Resistance. Sims has created an audacious fusion of jazz’s cerebral harmonies and rock’s raw energy, peppered with dub, reggae, and funk elements. This album, reminiscent of the eclectic experimentation of a visionary artist, pushes the boundaries of traditional musical taxonomy.
Contributing to the dynamic soundscape of Hellbender: The Resistance is the accomplished ensemble featuring Jared Sims on alto sax, Andrew Stern on guitar, James Rohr on keyboards, Marc Friedman on bass, and Randy Wooten on drums.
“Ensuing Plight,” the album’s inauguration, channels the quintessential spirit of Rush, fusing rock dynamism with jazz’s progressive undertones. With Sims at the helm, chord progressions are treated with an effortless jazz sensibility, superimposed on a kinetic underpinning of rock percussion. His command over his instrument and his exploratory approach to structure and composition forms an intoxicating cocktail of jazz and rock elements, eloquently welcoming listeners to his sonic landscape.
Sims exhibits remarkable fluidity as a musician. His improvisational solos are crafted with accessible melodies, enabling listeners to engage with the music and appreciate the masterful interplay between the raw, visceral energy of rock and the sophisticated, intricate weaves of jazz.
Following the entrancing opener is “Infinite Colossus,” punctuated by a compelling rock riff and a pulsating backbeat. They form the architectural groundwork for Sims’ exploration of a recurring motif, peppered throughout his improvisational solo. The narrative trajectory of the track builds organically, culminating in a captivating climax, demonstrating Sims’ adeptness in storytelling through his music.
Hellbender: The Resistance captures a beautiful paradox that arises when jazz’s intellectual nuances and classic rock’s fiery spirit coalesce. This brave fusion, undertaken with precision and commanding musicality, doesn’t simply blur the lines between genres; it redraws them entirely. Drawing from his rich and diverse background, Sims constructs a tapestry of refreshing and deeply meaningful sounds.