Zakk Jones' Screeching Owl – "Dreams of Yesterday" EP

Guitarist/composer Zakk Jones and his Screeching Owl sextet are releasing a new EP this week entitled Dreams of Yesterday. While Jones is currently busy preparing to graduate from Capital University, his hectic schedule isn’t stopping him from unleashing his debut original recording on the world. Screeching Owl will mark the release with a performance at Wild Goose Creative, 2491 Summit Street, on Saturday, April 4th. Their set is part of the third show in Radarhill‘s community residency program, so Screeching Owl will start the music around 9pm and Radarhill will close the night. As always, the residency also features the work of local visual artists: this installment will bring the art of Nick Swartzlander and Eric Rauschenbach to the walls. Admission is free, but donations are gladly accepted to cover costs and help keep the residency going, and copies of the EP will be on sale for $5. The multiple mediums on display Saturday will be a great context for the tunes of Dreams of Yesterday, a six-song showcase of the talents of Jones and his fellow young musicians in a variety of settings and styles.

The intro to “Coif,” the EP’s opening track, is a bit deceptive, as John Allen’s thick bass line seems to belong in a 1970s funk hit, but then the wordless vocals of Kelsey Hillock soar into picture and transform the song into a fusion workout, with assistance from a strong horn section and the vibraphone of Kyle Gentile. Hillock employs a similar tactic on “Flood Meadow,” but the relaxed Brazilian feel of the piece, with warm solos by Jones and trumpeter Steven Jacobs, results in a leisurely Sunday afternoon vibe. The choppy swing of “Under the Wire,” led by Jacobs on trumpet and Matt Hakes on tenor saxophone, bounces along into a call-and-response climax that highlights the drums of Matthiessen Nisch Quan. Danny Bauer’s hazy keyboard part that opens “Falling Up the Stairs” slows down the proceedings for a bit, but then the tune springs to life powered by the rhythm section of Nisch Quan and electric bassist Will Strickler, allowing Jones and Bauer to eventually blast into the stratosphere. The counterpoint of Jacobs’ flugelhorn and Hakes’ soprano saxophone is the focus of the title track, which remains subdued until Jones takes the lead near the end and sets the stage for Nisch Quan to solo under the ensemble. The EP ends with “Screeching Owl,” which finds Jones playing a harder-edged part juxtaposed with an uplifting horn section, a combination that slides into a hot, bluesy solo for Jones while the rhythm section struts. The horn players follow with additional excellent solos that delve into effects, and the tune returns to the chorus just in time for a precise finale. While Dreams of Yesterday is only thirty-one minutes long, Jones uses the time wisely to make a concise statement of his songwriting abilities, and the varied, well-paced contents are a strong culmination of the abilities of a very musical ensemble.

The album is available for sampling and digital purchase here! For more on Jones and the album, visit his brand new website: Below is Jones performing the lead track off the EP in his brand new On The Couch session:

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