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November 2009 - Amalgamation is the bringing together of different elements. It is also the name of group that wants, on its debut Therefore, to present a unique sound.

Based in Cleveland, Mississippi, this saxophone/guitar/bass/drums quartet is heavily influenced by the blues, but with a sound that's more a mix of rock, pop, jazz and fusion, its members count Chris Potter and Joshua Redman as some of its reference points.

Some rapid stick work from drummer Coday Anthony opens the title song. Bassist Chris Hartfield, guitarist Matthew Wood and saxophonist Ryan Betz then join in dramatic fashion, with Betz out front. The music ebbs and flows, from heightened passions to soft moments of reflection. During the middle passage, Betz takes the alto to some of its lowest depths while subtly backed by Wood, Hartfield, Anthony and recording engineer Jimmie Lee Jr.—who guests on keyboards here and on "Blown Fuse"— the mood slowly building up as the band returns to the main theme.

"Blown Fuse" is aptly named. Despite the controlled noise, it's a solid, rock-jazz jam. Betz injects a bit of Maceo Parker, along with hints of Redman and David Sanborn. The bass is alive and the drums are kicking, with the timing impeccable during several phrases that, ending in stop-time fashion, find all four musicians playing in unison.

"Do You Know" begins as a haunting ballad, punctuated by Anthony's rim shots. The intensity picks up with Betz out front and Wood employing some wah-wah effects in the background. Wood leads the tranquil "Beyond the Rainbow," with Betz switching to piano. During one dramatic sequence, Wood fuses several styles, giving a taste of Andy Summers, Carlos Santana and Larry Carlton.

Amalgamation can be considered instrumental rock, edgy pop, jazz or fusion . Each label fits, but none is exclusively definitive as this quartet brings a degree of freshness to its adept balance of melody and improvisation.

- All About Jazz, by Woodrow Wilkens

"Jazz Fusion Group Taking Off"

November 2009 - Eclectic jazz fusion phenomenon Amalgamation has been celebrating the upcoming release of the first EP, "Therefore," all over the Delta for the past few weeks. The Album is an intense and passionately wrought four-track compilation of songs that they have been performing live for the past few years. The goal during recording was to take the atmosphere of a live performance and record it; each song varies during individual performances, changing based on the moods of the performers as well as listeners, with new riffs, beats and solos at every turn. The instrumental group experiments with music, taking every opportunity to invite their audience to think about music intelligently and challenging listeners to let the music take their imagination to new plateaus.

"Therefore" definitely does both things: the title track begins with Coday Anthony tapping a rhythm on the edge of one of his drums and moves into a cascade of bass, guitar, and saxophone twining together to create a wistful, shining melody. The saxophone, played by Ryan Betz, is more evocative than lyrics could be, allowing the listener to interpret the smoky tones and expressing a repeating, yet varies, impression of building emotion. Guitarist Matthew Wood's talent is showcased in "Blown Fuse," a dizzying circular pattern of rising notes, in which the guitar and saxophone move together along the melody and then separate into contrasting elements. Betz and Wood express and intimate knowledge of their instruments onstage, and a striking ability to follow one another during impromptu riffs, which is evident on the album as well.

"Do You Know" has a haunting saxophone line, and begs as undefined and unanswerable question not only in the title, but in the rise and fall of the sax and guitar, the steady persistence of Chris Hartfield's bass guitar and Anthony's bass drum beat and higher resonating rhythms. Betz puts down the sax in "Beyond the Rainbow," exchanging it for the gentler sound of piano. Anthony begins the song with a brush on his drum, the gentle sound of windshield wipers on a rainy day, with Wood's delicate guitar line carrying the song into a beautiful crescendo, both sorrowful and bright.

The band based out of Cleveland, MS has been performing together for two years. The official album release show will be at 7:30PM on Thursday, November 19, 2009 at The Warehouse in Cleveland. Admission is free, and CDs are $5. It's more than worth the money; though there are only four tracks, there is a new element revealed each time you listen to the songs, and the depth and complexity of the music shows just how much work went into the record. - The Clarksdale Blue Star, by Sam Styers

""An amalgamation is the combination of several different things and Mississippi jazz band Amalgamation is no different. They combine various musical genres into one amazing sound.""

"An amalgamation is the combination of several different things and Mississippi jazz band Amalgamation is no different. They combine various musical genres into one amazing sound."

Below is the link to the segment and links to the podcast.

- Mississippi Public Broadcasting, Mississippi Edition, by Lisa Michie


"Therefore" EP - 2009



The term Amalgamation reflects the band members’ wide range of musical styles that combine to create their unmistakable music. The motley members contribute Jazz, Rock, Blues, and Pop influences that fuse to form a new and interesting amalgam of sound. Much like the music of Jimmy Herring, the Chris Potter Underground, and Joshua Redman’s Elastic Band, it is edgy and complex, spanning dynamically from whispering pianos to screaming fortes. Although there are centralized concepts and melodies, the band’s original compositions are expressively based around group and individual improvisation. The spontaneous nature of their music makes each performance engaging, exciting and uniquely different from the next.

Since their formation in 2007, Amalgamation has been earning rave reviews with their uncommon brand of music. The band made its debut in September 2007 at the 2nd Annual Otherfest in North Mississippi. At Otherfest the band set off a ground swell of interest among listeners. The band continued playing shows locally, gaining more and more fans. Without any formal press, the band thrived in the local music scene simply by word of mouth. Show after show, the band came into its own.

After two years of steady shows and constant wood shedding, the quartet is now releasing “Therefore,” it’s debut EP. “Therefore” demonstrates without reservation the band’s intense energy and passion that emanate from their live shows. Producer and acclaimed electro-acoustic composer Mark Snyder ensured that the band’s studio EP expand on the spirit of the live setting. Recorded at the new B.B. King Studio at Mississippi Valley State University, “Therefore” transports the listener to a new dimension of Amalgamation’s music.