LM5 (...the lily maase quintet...)
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LM5 (...the lily maase quintet...)

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The best kept secret in music



by Budd Kopman

If the releases from the Between the Lines label fall at the classical/composed end of the jazz continuum, then Aftermath belongs in the fusion/experimental corner of the jazz universe. Its rhythms are closer to rock than jazz; the keyboards are electric, as is the bass; and the general vibe goes beyond solo improvising in front of the rest of the band. Labels can be misleading, of course, but one has to start somewhere.

The LM5 would absolutely mesmerize a live audience with this unique music. Even if Maase isn't the mistress of guitar chops (at least on this record), her originality of conception is engrossing in the way the music ebbs and flows to create an overall sound. If you can let yourself be taken away by this music, it might just transport you to another universe (maybe that of Philip K. Dick; see below). As Kali Fasteau once counseled me, “Turn the lights down, turn the volume up, and see how the music makes you feel.”

If you visit Maase’s web site (using the password Nexus 6), you can find the full program notes and detailed explanations of the impulses and concepts, autobiographical and otherwise, behind this music. It must be emphasized, however, that knowing these details is not necessary to enjoy this music, which is strong enough to stand on its own.

The first four tracks, grouped as “The Aftermath Series,” comprise an autobiography. Each is surrounded by an electronic sound loop from which the music emerges and into which it disappears. “My Five Wives” is characterized by a heavy bass vamp and features some good lines by trumpeter Mike Maher. “Even Ash Will Linger” is plaintive and full of melancholy, ending with a processed guitar line that sinks into the electronica, only to shift gears entirely with the driving “…In Threes…,” where Maase plays the most guitar thus far, contrasted with a calmer middle section using keyboards. “A Body in Motion … (self portrait)” has many different sections which are tied together by an audible harmony or tonal center.

The last three tracks form the suite “Lullabye for the Electronic Shepherd (sounds for Philip K. Dick),” but again, you do not have to have read any of Dick's science fiction to get into the music. Mulholland’s chops on bass are featured on “How much for the Electric Ostrich”; “Nexus 6” revolves around a guitar line where the note groups clash with the meter; and “Baty’s Last Stand” is built from a poignant, simple theme.

In the end, all the description in the world can sometimes be meaningless. Maase uses all the instruments here to create her unique sound, creating and releasing tension; you just have to listen for yourself. Aftermath is a superior effort by a very talented composer. - AllAboutJazz.com

"Drumroll Please..."

Nominated for best jazz group in the 2005 Dallas Observer Music Awards. - Dallas Observer

"WakeUp Fest"

"...the Lily Maase Quintet (or LM5) played a fine set of free-form jazz that built groove and texture without getting cheesy. Maase's guitarwork...[strikes] an impressive balance between improv and restraint." - Dallas Observer


as the Lily Maase Quartet - "Natural Disasters" (2004)
as LM5 (...the lily maase quintet...) - "aftermath" (2005)

Both recordings are available online through cdBaby.com


Feeling a bit camera shy


My name is Lily Maase, and I am the founder of LM5, a jazz quintet committed to bringing new music to a new, young audience.

I have long considered myself a musician with one foot in the music of my forefathers and one foot in the music of tomorrow, and often found this to be in direct conflict with my academic background in jazz. It was not until I was able to place jazz within a larger picture and see it as part of the dialogue between all music—past, present and future—that this tension began to find any release.

The concept of oral tradition, or storytelling, as an integral part of American—if not all—music has allowed me to integrate a wide spectrum of sound into my daily life. How does a particular piece of music make me feel? What sort of image does it inspire? Can I draw upon this “story” as I develop narratives of my own?

Viewed this way, everything I write must have a program at its very essence. My latest recording, Aftermath, consists of two series of pieces for jazz quintet and electronics. The four pieces in the first series are unified by an electronic loop, and it is the difference in harmonic and improvisational interactions with this loop that tells a sort of story about the journey we must all make through the process of self-discovery. The second series, “Lullabye for the electric shepherd: sounds for Philip K. Dick,” is an exploration of some of the conceptual material from the classic movie Blade Runner.

As a composer and performer in the midst of today’s ever-changing media maelstrom, I feel it is important to pay respect to the tradition of jazz without alienating it from the tradition of music as a whole. The artists who are able to continue to make this music happen now are the ones who are able to push it forward while maintaining respect for its heritage. The language and tradition of what has become America’s only truly indigenous music is simply too precious to watch become a thing of the past.

This is my attempt to break the chains, yo. Check it out.

Thanks for listening,
Lily Maase and the LM5