Kneebody can rival the most random iPod shuffle
Kneebody | Photos by Kim Fox

Millennial jazz will undoubtedly be looked back on as the era when the music opened up to its widest array of influences from both inside and outside the genre. Past movements from fusion to Latin Jazz have folded in diverse elements from across the spectrum, but the latest generation has blended together sounds with an eclecticism to rival the most random iPod shuffle.

No group of musicians embodies that spirit quite like Kneebody. The distinctively unclassifiable quintet was formed in the late ‘90s by a group of students at Eastman School of Music: Adam Benjamin (keyboards), Shane Endsley (trumpet), Kaveh Rastegar (bass/guitar), Ben Wendel (tenor saxophone) and Nate Wood (drums). All have become active collaborators with a number of jazz greats and pop stars ranging from Dave Douglas to Bruno Mars, but together they’ve forged a unique and identifiable persona.

The band will play upstairs at World Café Live on Thursday in support of their latest CD, The Line (Concord). As usual, the album reconciles high-level musicianship, offbeat jazz improvisation, bristling rock energy, intricate compositional structures, and an arched-eyebrows sense of humor that never edges into snark or irony. It’s the kind of modern jazz that would fit easily onto rock radio in a more adventurous environment, and stays engaging whether you want to think analytically or just tap your foot.

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