Today, we’ve got a real treat of a review with a group of artists that this reviewer is excited to check out. Walter Kemp 3’s International Superband Black Whole (also known as Walter Kemp 3) is a free-form jazz band composed of 5 talented artists. With lead Walter Kemp on piano, Scott Tixier in violin/lead, Brent Birckhead in reeds, Rishon Odel in Bass, and Allan Mednard in drums, they’re set to shake the jazz world up with their latest single, “De Facto.”
The band carries a lot of history, primarily through their naming. Black Whole means “sum of” all Black music, hoping to bring together the sheer, unadulterated sound of Black music culture, presenting it in all of its raw, unfiltered glory. It’s undoubtedly a fascinating angle for a band, and it also means their music will come out of left field for many people.
Free-form jazz as a genre is liquid, capable of morphing and shifting as it sees fit. With five incredible musicians behind the reins, “De Facto” quickly becomes a master class of a musical showcase. Between its insane shifts in sound and mood to the sheer musical showmanship on display, it’s a powerful presentation that’s difficult to replicate.
Like most music within the genre, “De Facto” will not be for everyone, and Walter Kemp 3 knows this. With its insane shifts, unconventional song structure, and lack of hooks, it’s more of a technical marvel than a catchy tune to add to your fun playlist. Even if it isn’t your cup of tea, however, there’s no denying that “De Facto” is something special in modern music.
There isn’t much in the modern music landscape that sounds quite like “De Facto.” Between its hints of violin with loops, beautiful woodwind sections, and straight-up soul-bending arrangement, the track is an unstoppable tour de force of musical gravitas. When the song ramps the intensity, it heightens the tension to 11, and it’s genuine all the better.
Fans of free-form jazz who have been searching for something new to sink their teeth in, this is your new band. Walter Kemp 3 was specifically made to inject new life into this genre, and they’re achieving this by pushing the medium to its absolute limits. Between the mellow moments, the chaotic interludes, and the barn burner of a climax, there’s tons to love with “De Facto.”
Our verdict on “De Facto” by Walter Kemp 3 is somewhat complicated. While it lacks mainstream appeal, we recommend everyone give this single a chance. Be it to appreciate the revitalized sound of a bygone era or to admire the musical talent and spectacle on a whole other level, Walter Kemp 3 will not disappoint with “De Facto.” It’s a phenomenal piece of art, and we’re sure many others will find a ton to appreciate with this one in time.