Wave Mechanics Union are a band who make successful attempts in stretching the boundaries of jazz, by tapping into songs that are very much not in the jazz and pop standard songbook. For me, that’s a big deal because while I love jazz and pop standards, I get excitement when I see someone going out of the expected norm. Musically, this is very much big band and orchestral jazz with a few liberties here and there, but for the most part this is not what one would expect from material like this.
Paul Simon’s “Further To Fly” enhances its Latin rhythms to get into something is sure to make its listeners dance, whole Ben Folds’ “Selfless, Cold And Compared” is now filled with a massive brass section. Sherman Hemsley’s favorite band, Gentle Giant, gets the jazz treatment with a great cover of “Think Of Me With Kindness”, and considering their own musical roots and heritage, perhaps its fitting that the song has turned into what Wave Mechanics Union have created. Even Thomas Dolby fits into the picture when his “The Ability To Swing” is embraced with kindness, and it’s nice to hear it in this fashion. Vocalist Lydia McAdams has a Amel Larrieux vibe to her, where she wraps everything around the mood and lyrics and takes them to her heart to make it her own.
Former Yes vocalist Jon Anderson participates by doing background vocals on a track from Yes’ Going For The One album, “Wonderous Stories”, and handling co-lead on “It Will Be a Good Day (The River)” (from the 1999 album The Ladder). Anderson sounds great and it’s also nice to hear him sing in a different context than normally expected.
Along with tracks originally performed by Tom Waits, Steely Dan, King Crimson, Jimi Hendrix, Fiona Apple, Queen, Dire Straits, and Suzanne Vega, Further To Fly (HX Music) has Wave Machines Union allowing each song to go where it never traveled to before, thus freeing them like a bird so that it may find a new place to see and experience.