All things happen for a reason in music. Guitarist Blake Quick used to be in Flow Tribe. Now he’s not. But, he has a new band, the Quickening, and I had the opportunity to see them grace the stage at Tipitina’s.
His new band is decidedly different in instrumentation and sound than his previous ensemble. He still relies on a horn to add texture to his sound, but this time it’s a single trombone played with aplomb by Jon Ramm. He soloed admirably and punched up the arrangements in a style that was reminiscent of the work of Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews with his band or Corey Henry with Galactic.
However, the sound of the Quickening is more open and lyrical than those two bands that tend towards rock and funk respectively. Quick’s songs, which he plays with characteristic unpretentious grace, evoke an earlier era in music. Dare I say, the 1960s?
His band features a solid rhythm section—Will Laird on bass, Micah Boswell on drums, and Greg Zola on keys—who serve the songs without layering any unnecessary density into the music. Zola took a few tasteful solos, and I am sure that as the band matures, this was one of their first gigs, he will add more to the mix.
About halfway through the set, Quick brought out Rachel Murray to sing background vocals, and she took a lead turn as well. She can belt it out, and might as well have been on the stage the entire set because she definitely added to the proceedings.
Quick’s songs have staying power. After the set was over, I could clearly remember parts of at least three songs, including one that referenced Frenchmen Street and the Krewe of Kosmic Debris on Mardi Gras, even though I had never heard the tunes before.
Another happy moment was when they broke into a version of the Radiators’ classic, “Danang.” As an unrepentant fishhead, I have always wondered why more bands don’t cover the Rads. Here’s hoping that the Quickening delves deeper into the fishhead songbook, and continues to develop their songs and sound.
Photo at top by Nikki Toups; other three by Lindanne Lewis