Jazz has seen many changes since its inception over a century ago.

Some would argue that it parallels modernism and our insatiable need to innovate and move forward. While that’s entirely subjective, I think its a good point to keep in mind with Fox Capture Plan, as they are completely jazz without entire improvisation sections.
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On the surface the band could be seen as a traditional jazz trio, consisting of piano, upright bass and drums. What is not apparent though is that there is pop sensibility within their melodic hooks. There are also moments where the bass player runs his upright through distortion, or the drummer creates a pocket with a more rock-feeling groove. The inherent qualities of jazz lie within the tonality of the music rather than the structure. For instance, during the course of ‘衝動の粒子’, from their album Trinity the beginning melody rings beautifully as it becomes syncopated between a samba drum beat and a walking bass line. As the song progresses, that melody is expanded upon in many ways and repeated until it’s engrained forever. This is jazz with a theme, an agenda even.

“The absolute strength of this powerhouse trio is their feel for syncopation”

The absolute strength of this powerhouse trio is their feel for syncopation and simple, but strangely complex melodies. I’ll often finding myself listening to what the pianist is doing in his right hand and discovering there’s another layer filling each gap in his left. Even if you’re not giving your undivided attention to dissecting everything, you’ll be hard-pressed not to appreciate just how beautifully crafted the songs are. Also dancing…you can dance, bob your head, or whatever floats your boat to any song. All of them have a groove that inspires movement of some limb.

Another thing that always impresses me is how reserved everything sounds. No one is playing over the top or trying to measure their skill level by attempting to fill up a gap with as many notes as possible. Rather, timbre is the biggest goal, and it’s achieved with various amounts of delay used on the piano and varying tempos throughout each song. Every time I listen to ‘Rising’ I just get excited because I know that the beginning riff is going to have such an awesome groove put on top of it and that the song is going to take every direction I could hope for plus more.

“You’ll immediately realise that everything is crafted with the utmost care and precision”

Since their inception 3 years ago Fox Capture Plan has managed to release two full lengths, one EP, a split album with label mates bohemianvoodoo, and a sampler. With such a fast output of work, one could begin to question the quality, but if you listen to any song you’ll immediately realise that everything is crafted with the utmost care and precision. Stylistically though, things don’t change much from album to album. Luckily though, this works in their favour as those hooks we spoke of earlier really leave an impression upon you after each listen. Also there’s just enough short solo sections spread throughout their discography to make you want to go back and figure out what happened.

Saying this is a renaissance might be pushing it a little too far, but with Japanese bands like Fox Capture Plan, Mouse on the Keys and Jizue carving a niche within the jazz genre, I’m eager to see what other bands crop up from the foundations their laying out.