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Finding ways to make jazz even more ecclectic and interesting than it already is might seem a creative challenge. There are so many ways in which jazz commands attention that finding a way to make it individually intriguing requires some alternative approach. For Echo Pearl Varsity, Portland's jazz fusion post-rock hybrid group, that approach was near effortless and incredibly fitting.
It all started back in 2015, when lead songwriter Sam Luna, bassist Nolan Henderson and drummer Ian Taylor were working at a pizza shop together, yearning to add something original to Portland's (and, the general) music scene. Once they were joined by saxophonist Levi Downey, Echo Pearl Varsity was complete, and their sophisticated innovation of post-fusion came to be.
Their EP Tragic Bronson debuted their mellow yet mercurial production but their first full length, Fires, takes it to the next level. Establishing the band as leaders in this avant category, Fires shows EPV as masterful yet mallable and commanding yet flexible, with a willingness to flow with the orchestrative freedom post-rock and jazz allow. They'll be releasing an EP of cover songs in the next few months, coinciding with another tour.
Congrats to Echo Pearl Varsity for winning our poll and our hearts. Listen to Fires in full below.
Portland New Bands With Buzz