Organic Proof
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Organic Proof

Kansas City, Missouri, United States

Kansas City, Missouri, United States
Band World Funk


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Review by Joe Klopus"

"Drummer Brandon Draper is the new guy in town to watch, and his New Quintet is an inspired choice for the next show on the Jazz & Beyond concert series. Draper has surrounded himself with some of the most gifted younger players on the Kansas City scene: trombonist and percussionist Kevin Cerovich, tenor saxophonist Rich Wheeler, keyboardist John Brewer and bassist Ben Leifer. Their music is centered on original material with influences from world music, funk and pop."

**This review is for Brandon Draper's New Quintet, but it exemplifies his abilities as a musician.** - Kansas City Star

"Proof of Life"

Like thousands of other impressionable young hippies, John Brewer came down with a severe case of Phish fever during the summer of his 17th year, caravanning for 24 dates with the jam band during the height of its popularity.

"It showed me that fans can be more devoted than you could possibly imagine," says Brewer, now 28. "I realized that if I could do that for Phish, maybe people could do that for me."

So while the rest of Phish nation filled up their veggie-oil tanks and moved on down the road to Widespreadville and Kellerland, Brewer went to school in New Orleans and got a master's degree in jazz piano performance. He lent his ivory-tickling talents to live hip-hop bands and jazz ensembles — anything to sharpen his chops and help reach his goal of becoming a professional musician.

"I quit listening to that stuff [jam bands] and started developing me," he says.

Along the way, however, Brewer discovered that his most passionate pursuit — improvisation — was also the most unlikely to pay the bills. Shortly after moving back to Kansas City, he found a kindred spirit in drummer and percussionist Brandon Draper.

"In every city, there are multiple jazz musicians who play together, and there's a certain amount of vocabulary they know so they can play together without rehearsal," Draper says. "John and I realized early on that we did not want to do that."

The John Brewer Trio and the Brandon Draper New Quintet are already established commodities on the KC jazz circuit, but the duo's new project, Organic Proof, is beginning to spin heads outside the jazz scene.

"I don't see jazz as being that marketable," Brewer says. "We're hoping that Organic Proof can get to a larger audience."

Envisioned as a sonic playground for two creatively restless musicians, the improvisatory collaboration allows Brewer (keyboards) and Draper (drums, percussion, bass and other instruments) to traverse the realms of jazz, electronica, hip-hop and world music without adhering to any one format.

"We're both extremely influenced by the culture and mentality of dance music," Brewer says. "What really makes us similar to DJs is the beat matching — we'll do entire sets that never stop."

Though neither musician is immune to the occasional "tux, bucks, sucks" gig to pay the bills, their true passion is tweaking their accumulated arsenal of toys. For Draper, that includes a worldly array of percussion devices that he mastered while studying at the University of New Mexico.

"I learned very early on in studying other cultures' music that it has to be all or nothing so you're not jive," Draper says. "I don't want to be that guy wearing the Smiths T-shirt who knows nothing about the Smiths."

As in African music, Organic Proof's compositions favor interweaving rhythms and spiraling textures. Draper's drums are routed to a mixing board so they can be looped, allowing him to juggle bass, marimba and exotic percussion.

"We're very much into masking and changing sounds," Brewer says. "When we feel the crowd sagging, we'll both look at a certain instrument and go, 'Yeah.'"

Draper pulls his drum loops in and out like a DJ would, creating a dynamic ebb-and-flow that reacts to the crowd's temperament.

"Our goal in bigger venues is to get the audience to play with us by dancing and having a good time," Draper says. "If people are getting down, this whole new freedom opens up."

The resulting sonic frenzy can be heard as drum-'n'-bass, downtempo trip-hop, experimental jazz, fractured funk or all of the above.

"Sometimes the loop will get out of synch," Brewer says. "But we're listening close enough that it doesn't necessarily sound bad — we just make it work."

Brewer is used to working in a high-pressure environment: He works as a firefighter. Though such a gig precludes extended touring, it allows him to maintain high standards as a gigging musician — i.e., not live out of a tent with a bunch of schwag-toking festivarians.

"There's stuff we were willing to do when we were 18 that a lot of these bands are still willing to do just to get into these festivals," he says.

Instead, Organic Proof has taken up twice-monthly residences at J.P.'s Wine Bar and Jardine's as well as branching out into rock clubs such as the Record Bar. The duo has also collaborated with the fledgling Innatesounds hip-hop crew headed up by KC producer Miles Bonny.

Organic Proof is still finding its footing. The group's recorded output thus far amounts to a live recording captured at J.P.'s (which actually sounds quite polished) and some simmering demos. Both members have recently begun singing and hope to develop that aspect more in the studio.

Whatever path Organic Proof takes, it's certain to develop — you guessed it — organically.

"What's really important to us is creating something new," Brewer says. "All the jam bands out there that just sound like Phish — that's what they're going to do forever."
- Richard Gintowt

"A night out at the Mutual Musicians Foundation and Jardine's reminds us what this town's all about"

The young cat is blowing his tenor horn, barking out the low notes, then rising and twisting the fleshy machinery of his palate to squeal the climactic, mile-above-the-staff altissimo notes.

The drummer keeps time at a rapid clip, tapping the cymbals, not breaking a sweat. The man on bass is cool, too. His hands lope along with the changes, sliding up the neck and walking the notes back down like a kid jumping puddles.

The pianist is meditative, shrouded in the dark corner of the room, minimally dancing on the chords, drifting back and forth from the root.

The saxophonist finishes his chorus and, as if called by an invisible cue, the players who'd been laying out (two more saxes, two bones, a trumpet) jump out of their seats and join the band to blare out the finale of the song they've been jamming on, "Giant Steps" by John Coltrane.

It's nearly 4 a.m. on a Saturday night (Sunday morning) upstairs at the Mutual Musicians Foundation. About two dozen people have driven to the East Side, passing through the largely dormant 18th Street and Vine Jazz District and handing the old man dressed in black at the door of the Local 627 Building $8 to come in and hear traditional, improvisational jazz in the middle of the night.

A group of white 20-somethings sits around a disappearing birthday cake at one of the tables. At another table, two guys in baseball caps and baggy sportswear play a game of chess on a miniature board. By the staircase railing, a towering man with a shaved head dances with his petite wife. The woman at the bar serves cocktails until all hours.

The musicians jam. Jamming at the Foundation 3-29-08

There are a few gracefully aged rhythm players, but all of the horn players — plus a drummer, a bassist and a strawberry-blond singer in a long red coat — are young. Some are probably UMKC students. One skinny, mop-headed tenor player looks like he must be in high school.

Representatives from several generations of jazz musicians are here tonight, reveling in their skill at an art form that was born in Kansas City nearly a hundred years ago as a form of popular entertainment. Now, jazz is played in a few clubs, studied at a few schools and played on a few radio stations (the nonprofit kind).

The history of jazz in Kansas City is famously littered with empty buildings and lost money. It's also littered with bad public schools, culturally desolate suburbs, segregated neighborhoods, kids dazzled by plastic shit at malls, grown men dazzled by plastic shit at malls, vampires hiding on rooftops and jumping down and biting aspiring ... oh, what the fuck am I talking about?

Last Saturday, for me, was a reconnection to the authentic — a regrounding in the cultural legacy of Kansas City, vanishing though it may be. I needed it, and I wasn't going to get it from a rock show or a chintzy martini bar with a million flat-screen monitors or anyplace new.

I started at Jardine's, at the altar of the instrumentally adventurous (sometimes ridiculously so) Brandon Draper Trio. Sometimes reaching transcendent climaxes, sometimes reaching only workable grooves, drummer-bassist-percussionist-loopist Draper and cohorts John Brewer (on keyboard, keytar, laptop, piano, tapping and car keys) and Leonard Dstroy (on turntables and tambourine), jammed until 2:30 a.m. before a consistently full room at the surprisingly unstodgy (this night, at least) jazz club on the Plaza.

It was challenging — and very funk-heavy — music to be hearing at Jardine's, and when the group took breaks and Lenny D. spun a hip-hop record over the PA, I expected the emergency sprinklers overhead to start spraying pesto.

Three hours of experimental funk from trained jazz musicians (see this week's feature on Draper and Brewer's other outfit, Organic Proof) had me ready for the real deal, and what a great thing it was to know it was there to be had at the Foundation.

So I headed out to 18th and Vine, past closed clubs and never-even-opened clubs and lights blinking for nobody, and walked up some stairs and had my head unzipped by some kids and grown men.

The next day, Jesus came to me in a vision and said, "Thou must never let the Foundation closeth."

Put that in your sax and blow it.

- Jason Harper


Brandon Draper New Quintet
John Brewer "Free"
John Brewer, Brandon Draper "The New Orleans Session"
Organic Proof Live Vol 1



Organic Proof is keyboardist and producer John Brewer and multi-instrumentalist and live-looper Brandon Draper. Together they create and mix tracks live on stage by looping and performing on a variety of exotic instruments from around the world. Deeply rooted in African rhythms they combine electronica to make a style all their own. Both coming from musical households where their fathers played music professionally, John and Brandon were exposed to many different styles at a very early age that later led to each receiving Masters degrees in music performance. Having recorded and toured with many musicians as sidemen over the years they came together in 2006 to create this powerful duo.