Conveniens
"Conveniens"

(Convenience Records 2006)Conveniens - Conveniens

In 1984, a Chicago duo made up of John Maz and Sterling Smith released their debut self-titled record under the name Conveniens. With their collection of instrumental tracks that blend jazz with rock while still keeping a funky tone and feel, Maz and Smith had one foot in today and one in tomorrow. Re-mastered and released on CD for the first time, "Conveniens" is now easily available for those that missed it the first time around.

With eerie synths that tremble like in an outdated sci-fi horror flick, Conveniens makes opener "Rain Kite" groove while still staying somewhat minimal in terms of instrumentation. "Morning Lobotomy" sounds ideal for a soundtrack, to a movie or to a moment of your life, as a deep piano melody sets the tone and evokes emotion from the listener. Elsewhere, the playful pizzicato of "Barney Klark" slowly reveals itself while the edgier "Regular Grind" does just as the title suggests and grates while keyboards provide smooth jazz. Drummer Maz struts his stuff with percussion-heavy tracks like "Druhm Rum," which is merely accented by piano as drums take the main focus, and "Blink," where quick drums set the rhythm while the keyboards hum an upbeat melody.

Conveniens' self-titled re-release falls somewhere in the middle. Not quite rock, not quite jazz. Not quite old but not quite new, either. The result is an instrumental album that, after a slow start, finally picks up and gets going with a bit of edge and plenty of melodic flourishes. Conveniens know their place, where they feel comfortable, and luckily they remain in their safety zone.

B+

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