Transcendental Psychology | Redefinition

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Jazz: Free Jazz Jazz: Jazz Fusion Moods: Type: Improvisational
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by Transcendental Psychology

Transcendental Psychology is an explosive four-piece ensemble that combines elements of avant-garde and straight-ahead jazz, funk, hip-hop, and rock.
Genre: Jazz: Free Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. the burning question
8:42 $0.99
2. spider tree
3:58 $0.99
3. apparitions
8:31 $0.99
4. sticks and ropes
7:03 $0.99
5. island of lost souls
4:14 $0.99
6. crooked wisdom
6:29 $0.99
7. pollen
6:40 $0.99
8. thought distortion
6:16 $0.99
9. in that skin
5:16 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes

Trans Psych's latest CD release, "Redefinition", continues where their 2000 debut left off in combining modern jazz, funk, and other influences into a groove-oriented blend. The recording features the band's newest member, veteran saxophonist Dan Landis, and also a guest appearance on three tracks by percussionist Jonathan Mele.
Trans Psych was formed in 1999 by Chris Lockett (guitar, keyboards), Brian Lee (bass), F. Carter Hoodless (drums), Jacques Taylor (tenor saxophone), and percussionist Bernardo Gajano (Lockett, Lee, Hoodless, and Taylor met as students at Oberlin College/Conservatory and had been playing together in the funk/rock band Lovecraft since the early 90's). Trans Psych's initial goal was to blend avant-garde jazz with funk /hip-hop rhythms. "Instead of compartmentalizing our musical interests and influences, I always thought it would be cool to try to mix these various genres and sub-genres to create a music that was very personal, one that doesn't sound quite like anyone else", says guitarist Lockett. "As a collective we've been influenced by a wide range of artists: Miles Davis, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Prince, Parliament/Funkadelic, Mr. Bungle, Wu-Tang Clan, and many others. We want to bring all of these influences to the table."
Since the band's inception Trans Psych has performed at numerous venues including the Knitting Factory, CBGB's Gallery, Wetlands Preserve, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and Cecil's Jazz Club. They have also performed and lectured at a number of colleges including Union College in upstate New York, and Boston University.


"Transcendental Psychology, a quintet of voracious, fun and swinging musicians have one thing in mind. Making music that is accessible, hard swinging and different. Redefinition is a collection of blistering and hard driving melodies guaranteed to stimulate, and excite. Exhibiting a sense of adventure, many listeners should be attracted to this great multi-dimensional band..." -

"After a few seconds of effects-heavy guitar introduction from Chris Lockett, the opening measures of this disc are dominated by a thundering series of brawny bass double stops and a wide-open, in the pocket beat that sound for all the world like a Les Claypool-Tim Alexander groove from one of Primus' classic albums. And although this unknown quartet exhibits as much of an influence from Medeski, Martin & Wood, Parliament or the Art Ensemble of Chicago as they do indie rock, perhaps a comparison to the seminal 90's alt-trio isn't so far off base. Because much like on Primus' more experimental excursions (see Frizzle Fry), all of the tracks here are driven by the muscular and flexible groove of bassist Brian Lee and drummer F. Carter Hoodless, in which a meaty funk backbeat is stretched and refined across the long haul - on top of which the rest of the band unloads a series of off-kilter, open-minded, almost humorous explorations. Not that they're not serious about the task at hand; rather, that it is with a sly smile that they set their sights on a wide variety of styles, subtly siphoning off whatever elements they can submit to their loose grooves. Perfect example being the opening "The Burning Question": assemble 1 angular, post-bop head, 1 slowly creeping jam band beat, 1 super fast straight ahead jazz section, and 1 shredding, shard-like funk-rock guitar solo; arrange carefully and serve warm. Whether it's the body-rocking Bootsy Collins interlude of the slap bass extravaganza on "Sticks and Ropes," the vibrant ska sections on "Island of Lost Souls," or the sinister avant expansion of "Spider Tree" into its lightly swinging conclusion - Redefinition finds the band armed with a refreshingly broad arsenal of means by which to arrive at a similar, grooving end. This experimentalism is Trans Psych's primary strength, and what sets them apart from the legion of M, M & W imitators to whom they will inevitably (and shortsightedly) be compared "...on the long "Apparitions," the wide variety of ways Hoodless commandeers the beat turns what could be a simplistic riff-based jam tune into a true musical experiment. There is indeed a riff at its base, but it is fascinating to hear the way Lockett and Landis bring it in and out of the foreground: over Hoodless' hip hop-heavy opening beat, the melodica-tenor combination subtly varies it but keeps it straight ahead; once Lockett switches to guitar, the whole band drops deep into experimentalism, shading effects and march-like rolls clouding the original groove; then finally as Hoodless smoothes out into a jazz-inflected 4/4 beat, Landis steps forward for a fiery solo on tenor, with Lockett following close behind. What holds the piece together is indeed the compositional base, but what sets it apart is the surprising interplay that happens during its performance. There is a sense of evolution - the eruption, transformation, and eventual redefinition of an idea that mark the best passages of this aptly-named album. What that requires, of course, is improvisational dialogue - with their roots (from Primus to P-Funk to Pete Rock), with each other, and with the compositional elements at the base of each track - and that is a process that requires time and trust, the acquisition of a curious musical patois. Curious, sure, but well worth the effort, as Trans Psych show in their shining moments. And with a little luck, they will continue to perfect that process that they have so promisingly put into motion here."
- Charles Walker, Sudden Thoughts

"Certainly a worthy successor to their previous effort, Trans Psych's Redefinition is not quite a redefinition of sound. Perhaps a re-orientation, although slightly so. Maybe more elements of funk and elements of hip-hop which were not present on the first album, give it a new colouring." - The Online Guitar College,

"...The eponymous Transcendental Psychology embraces the spirit of improvisation within the contexts of funk, rock, soul jazz, and hip-hop. As a fusion of styles, this record works wonderfully. The secret is an unrelenting emphasis on the groove, whatever the context....Guitarist Chris Lockett leads the group, in formal as well as functional senses. His limber work on the guitar( plus keyboards, and a fine but limited helping of oud) helps provide a colorful backdrop for the other players...when he's not twisting and writhing through his own solos. Groove bands these days tend to suffer from excessive reliance on funk and rock cliches from the 70's, but Transcendental Psychology makes a regular effort top keep it fresh. The inclusion of percussionist Bernardo Gajano helps a lot here: his efforts to color the rhythms assembled by drummer F. Carter Hoodless helps give more body to the overall pulse...saxophonist Jacques Henri Taylor builds up forward momentum and energy to propel the group forward...." -

"Trans Psych mixes the tradition of hard bop with a progressive jazz's a good balance of song craft and experiments". - The Jersey City Reporter

"...A group pulled together by multi-instrumentalist Chris Lockett, has produced TRANSCENDENTAL PSYCHOLOGY, establishing a real mark for a premiere performance on CD...the performances of everyone demonstrate true musical ability and sensibility to one member to another....That is why the CD is so coherent." -

"...Not willing to be just another Jazz or Fusion band, they have inspired themselves from the original jazz greats....This is their debut album, and hopefully no their last." - The Online Guitar College,

"Transcendental Psychology is one amazing jazz band that is not afraid to cross the boundaries of their music style. One of the great things about Trans Psych is that they create their own songs, their own sound, their own unique flavor. I've reviewed more jazz cover groups than I have original creators. Trans Psych is definitely a fresh sound for some tired ears. This music is exemplary in every way. The musicianship of this band is absolutely amazing. Their feel for the aura of jazz and th instruments they play is only overshadowed by the imagination of these guys. The music will take you on a joy ride of strange imagery, but will never leave you disappointed. If you like your jazz with a little flavor and some excitement, this is the album for you. - THEGLOBALMUSE.COM



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Rick Itty

Slap thump honk
rusty pan,itchy sweater, wet boots,- yeah but who's counting? Look in -see out. Psyce jazz stomps on the rocks to wax philosophic. Dense shadows throw big shapes and in turn poke the void untill it all transends.