Thursday, March 5, 2015

Water Seed at the Drom

In New Orleans, Louisiana, future Water Seed drummer Lou Hill began playing the alto sax in fourth grade and over subsequent years became immersed in rhythm & blues, funk and jazz. Down the road, Water Seed keyboardist J. Sharp learned to play piano at the age of five and trained for concertos. Both played in local bands before bonding and forming Water Seed while attending university in 2000. Cinese Love of Pasadena, California, an orchestral-trained flautist who switched to jazz, later found her way to Water Seed. Born in Houston, Texas, blues and gospel-influenced singer Shaleyah sang in her university's Philharmonic Society; she found her way to Water Seed as well. The attraction for these and many other artists who play or have played in Water Seed has been the opportunity to marry many musical experiences into a contemporary urban hybrid. Water Seed's fifth and most recent album, a remix project entitled Retro Electro, was released July 22, 2014.

Showcasing at the Drom tonight, it was common for the seven-piece multi-genre Water Seed to take an original song and make it last between five and 10 minutes long. Most songs had a funk rocking skeleton that grew flesh through cascading vocal interplays and jazz-like interpretive instrumentation. The joyous rhythm and groove was for gyrating hips on the dance floor, while the sophisticated instrumental flourishes fed the head and the big, soulful vocals nourished the heart. The sound was old school cool, recalling the golden era of Stevie Wonder and Herbie Hancock. While this sound no longer moves major music sales in the present era, Water Seed as a live entity did a fine job of sparking an exuberant New Orleans party spirit in New York.

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