Rabnett 5
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Rabnett 5


Band Jazz Soul


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"Leopardism Review"

Rabnett 5
By Alexander Varty
Leopardism (Quirk Audio)

Guitarist Rich Rabnett’s quintet is a beautiful example of where modern mainstream jazz is at right now. This music swings in the classic sense, incorporating elements of Blue Note–style hard bop and Hammond-organ soul, but the Nelson-based bandleader isn’t afraid to go further afield: his compositions sometimes stray into abstract funk or wistfully impressionistic soundscapes. And although he owes an obvious debt to Pat Metheny and John Scofield, he doesn’t turn their innovations into easy clichés. Instead, he uses them as a springboard from which to discover his own, very user-friendly sound.

On Leopardism, Rabnett gets empathetic support from his band, especially saxophonist Kiyoshi Elkuf and drummer Dan Gaucher. Elkuf seems to have an endless supply of melodic ideas, and Gaucher’s intensely physical and often New Orleans–inflected attack ensures that every track moves forward with clear intent. Leopardism also benefits from the mixing talents of sound engineer Scott “Scotty Hard” Harding, a former Vancouverite who’s been a studio stalwart in Brooklyn for the past few years, most notably with Medeski Martin & Wood. And here’s where this good-news story turns tragic: not long after Harding completed work on Rabnett 5’s latest, a cab that he was riding in was broadsided by a stolen car being driven at speed. At press time Harding was recovering, but he has almost certainly been paralyzed from the waist down—and, like many Canadians working in the U.S. and most American musicians, he doesn’t have health insurance. A fund has been set up to defray his hospital expenses, which are immense; see www.scottyhard.com/ for more information. Proceeds from the Leopardism launch party, at the Waldorf Hotel on March 28, will go to this urgent cause.

- Georgia Straight - Alex Varty


Rest (2003)
Reclamation (2004)
Dan's Party (2005)
Leopardism (2008)



Leopardism! #1 Jazz/Blues record in Canada for May, June, July. It's our 4th album, 1st with producer: Scotty Hard!
Rich, Dan, and Mike were playing a weekly trio gig in East Vancouver in 2001 that became a springboard for larger group writing. Kiyo and Ian guested a few times, and eventually joined the crew for a quintet performance at the Sugar Refinery.
In the summer of 2002, the band made it's first (of now 7 consecutive) appearance at the Vancouver Jazz Festival. They also recorded their first commercial release for Maximum Jazz "Rest".
The band worked hard, touring numerous times from Vancouver to Montreal, and has now performed over 200 gigs in Canada.
This band has received nominations for:
Best Instrumental Album: 2005 WCMA
CBC Galaxie Prize: 2005
Emerging Canadian Composer: 2006 FIJM
Emerging Canadian Band: 2006 FIJM