Let’s face it, jazz is perplexing: Beyond being compositionally complex and stereotypically highbrow, it’s also enigmatic in its far-reaching eclecticism. Most wouldn’t look at OG jazz guitarists like Django Reinhardt and find justifiable comparisons with gypsy-punk groups of today — think Gogol Bordello or DeVotchka — but such comparisons are there for the finding. That’s probably the coolest thing about local group Hot Milk, a band that slots perfectly into a puzzling no-man’s-land between jazz and folk — a land that, at least locally, is likely to evoke a soundtrack of groups like Voodoun Moi or Manouche Noir.
Picture edgy, contemporary Klezmer music without the woodwinds and you’re on the right track.
The instrumentation is as thorny as it is smooth. From Dusty Carlson’s bass playing, through Susan Richardson’s enchanting drumming, to Andy Page’s dope brass-work, Hot Milk’s musical chops are as solid as they come, and Rebecca Conner’s lyricism provides the final touch. Her vocals are like strands of silk woven through a loom of sharp seventh chords and syncopated jazz rhythms. The finished product is a soft, groovy musical blanket that’s all too fun to wrap yourself in.
Though still young, Hot Milk has been beating out a stormy musical path in recent months; taking no prisoners and, more often than not, leaving behind the ruins of a crowd that just got its mind blown in half. And there’s no better way to sum up Hot Milk than with their own words: “We met in a dream and then woke up dancin’.”
Go now, and dance with them.
Hot Milk, Eager Beaver and Lower 48 play 9 pm Friday, March 2, at Sam Bond’s; $5.