What’s the Highest Number You Can Think Of? – Hans Blix

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Taking the name from the chief UN weapons inspector, Hans Blix is not an electronic outfit but a jazz-oriented groove band that is pulling those influences back to the turntable-free land of bass, drums, sax and guitar. The only arguable crossover they share instrumentally between the two genres is the electronic keyboard. In keeping with what the Hans Blix boys consider a clever name, they claim to employ “weapons of mass improvisation.” That may be the case, but come on guys, really? The only figures in jazz who can carry that kind of bravado are long since past, and seeing as the golden age of jazz is too, it is doubtful such a figure or group will likely come along again that can pull it off.

Such Band Camp witticisms also suggest someone in this band has rocked a keyboard tie at some point, in a non-ironic way. But cheesy puns and lofty egos aside, Hans Blix makes some enjoyable grooves. It’s not earth shattering, but I’m sure some scholarly jazz types could make a very plausible academic case in favor of these musicians’ creations.

The result for any given listener is music that is meditative and groovy. I’m not hearing an abundance of virtuosity on these tracks, which may display professional restraint, but simultaneously brings ability into question since usually it’s a trapping of the genre that all instrumentalists must display overt technical bravado at some point in their performance. That aside, the improvisational grooves that Hans Blix build quickly grow on the listener. It’s memorable, even catchy, so while the sound may take on some higher-brow aspirations at times, the results are at least accessible and enjoyable.