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2ND AUGUST 2016 

Had this album been released 40 years ago it probably would have been in small quantities on a local Chicago label (the band are based there) or as a private press, a forgotten gem only to be sought out years later by collectors for inflated prices. I say this partly because the music they play reminds me of the Jazz Fusion supergroups of the early ‘70s, but also because you get the sense that whilst the band have developed a local following they lack broader recognition. Now though Chicago, Illinois is just a click away. Spare Parts are Kevin Kozol (Fender Rhodes, Moog Little Phatty and Hohner Clavinet C), Colin Scott (electric bass) and Mike Bruno (drums and percussion). Scott and Bruno began playing together at high school, before forming the band with Kozol at Southern Illinois University in the early Noughties. Since then they have built a solid reputation as a live band performing in and around Chicago. “Warehaus Sessions..” is their sixth album to date. 
Their music is not so much influenced as immersed in the sounds of ‘70s Jazz Fusion and groups like The Headhunters and The Tony Williams Lifetime, with shades of Bob James and George Duke thrown in for good measure. In my book that’s really no bad thing. Over time the term Jazz Fusion has become synonymous with radio-friendly smooth jazz, but in its early years this electrified sound felt groundbreaking, spawning classic albums like “Agharta”, “Head Hunters”, “Light as a Feather” and “Emergency”. That said this isn’t just music for nostalgia’s sake; it’s living and breathing with modern sensibilities. 

This is a great little album packed with melodic, funk-filled, fluid grooves. The compositions, five of which were written by Kozol, are vividly captured, the “Session” really feeling fresh and live. Whilst the results are a group effort, the lasting takeaway is of Kozol’s playing, which provides a fantastically broad spectrum of sounds and textures, some layered or overlapping, others more linear, but all flowing quite effortlessly. 

Highlighting individual tracks feels churlish within such a consistent set, but gun to my head I’d pick the slightly progressive vibe of “V6”, featuring guitarist Fareed Haque on solo and the tender, blissful “Park Avenue” featuring another guest, saxophonist Rajiv Hakim. 

Elsewhere the cover of Joshua Redman’s “Jazz Crimes” is fairly faithful to the original, except the organ and sax lines are replaced by synths and a neat bass solo. Led Zeppelin’s “Four Sticks” is the other cover; an interesting choice, with rockier overtones and a heavier rhythm line. 

Once you realise that there is a world of great music outside mainstream radio playlists, opportunities to ‘find’ albums like this are almost endless. Don’t let the self-deprecating name put you off, Spare Parts, are anything but. 

Andy Hazell

Ten Chicago Jazz Artists To See in 2014
2) Spare Parts -  A band that much like OM Trio, the Benevento/Russo Duo or Medeski Martin and Wood, is equal parts jazz and jam.  They look like a jazz band, sound like a jazz band and go off like a jam band.  One of my favorite groups in town. - Paul Abella
The Barn Presents: Ten Chicago Jazz Artists To See in 2014

93 XRT

FROM THE 93.1 WXRT Interview
Spare Parts On Sunday’s Local Anesthetic
richard-1Richard Milne
Spare Parts are jazz in the sense that they play jazz chordings and can swing with authority but the more I listen to their self-titled new disc, the more I realize their sound and songs are more Parliament than, say, John Coltrane. With album number five Spare Parts, they are, indeed, on the verge of getting it on. Interestingly enough, I’m listening to it right now for the umpteenth time and I’m hearing something new, some little high-hat bit from drummer Mike Bruno. I like that. There is a precedent for jazz artists and composers to guest on Local Anesthetic, by the way. Spare Parts are not the first. Ken Vandermark was on 20-something years ago and more recently, Ramsey Lewis. Spare Parts don’t sound like either one of those acts, tho. Their sound actually harkens back to mid-late ’70′s “jazz fusion” from the likes of Return to Forever, Herbie Hancock, Weather Report, et al. Many of us swallowed that stuff right up, driving albums like Weather Reports Heavy Weather to gold sales and the top the jazz charts in 1977. That side even went top 30 on the pop charts. Multiple Grammy nominations ensued and Pastorius‘ “Teen Town” is still one of the baddest-ass songs of the genre and period (video below). The point is; music like that of Spare Parts used to be part of the pop landscape and their new tunes are so user friendly, it’s time to reintroduce you to the whole jazz-fusion thing as done up right by this Chicago trio. Spare Parts will be my guest on this week’s Local Anesthetic, Sunday night at 7:30 here on XRT.

Spare Parts

Spare Parts


Chicago-based trio features bass, keyboard and drums. This self-titled release is their fourth. The band has a vigorous hardcore fan base, and has shared stages with everybody from Snoop Dogg to the Jazz Mandolin Project. Spare Parts opens with tracks of happy, sometimes spacey funk, then travels to blues and near-programmatic tracks like “The Chase.” The latter could serve as soundtrack music for a ‘70s cop show. “Grinder” sounds like it’s making fun of both Black Sabbath and Jean Michel Jarre, which isn’t easy. Spare Parts makes jazz more fun than some people probably think it should be.

- Bruce Collier

Spare Parts: Quarter Pulse

Our friend Steven Smith sent this in to us, saying “I just discovered a new band – new to me, that is – Spare Parts. Great 70s groove! The bassist is Colin Scott, [and he's] layin’ it down on the Fender Jazz. Sweet!”

Sweet indeed. Love that old school sound.

If you’re into the Charlie Hunter or Medeski, Martin, and Wood vibe, then this guitarless Chicago jazz trio should be in your sights already. Crowdfunding for their fifth album and the first to be released digitally on Ropeadope Records (home of Hunter and Christian McBride among others), are bassist Colin Scott, keyboardist Kevin Kozol, and drummer Mike Bruno. The Track below, Poppin', is from the band's 2012 album Bright Minor, and you can expect more the funky same on the next self-titled long player. Hard not to move to this stuff! Spine-chilling keys, bumping bass lines, drumming tight as the proverbial gnat's ass. Get with it and put these guys over the top.