Thursday, September 10, 2009


The kitchen where I sit and write this is very real. Before me a table. Behind me a barrelhouse piano that has been turned into a speaker cabinet for the record player. That was a fun night. The laptop running out of battery. If you could have made a time lapse video of the majority of my encounters with Evan Francis I would have been sitting on this bench. That's not to say I don't go places, but its where I like to sit. Your video would show Evan, blurred and suited, horn in hand, buzzing in from rehearsals and whizzing out for gigs. You could slow the video to see stills of Evan eating spinach straight from the bag or calling upon science. If you checked the timecode, the single pattern that emerges is that it keeps happening, expanding exponentially according to logarithms I don't quite have a handle on yet. Day or night. Piling on the gigs. The man stays busy.

And, for a reason. As one of the consigliere in the local SF Jazz Mafia, Evan Francis leads his six piece Spaceheater's Blast Furnace crew as well as holding down a chair in the flute, clarinet, and sax sections of other mafia incarnations in their self-described "sonic jihad." You can catch Spaceheater's Blast Furnace at Yoshi's SF the first Tuesday of the month or at their record release show September 29th at the Independent hosted by Bay Area rap icon Lyrics Born. The name is no lie; these players make bikram yoga look like making snow angels.

Spaceheater's Blast Furnace new self-titled album is the musical equivalent of being on deck, stepping up to the plate, and rounding first base all at the same time. The CD confidently shapeshifts between danceable afro-latin and hip hop rhythms, icy cool melodic lines, and playground jazz often with an unexpected warmth and immediacy. If I were you I'd download that shit right now.

thanks to Lauren Stower (photos)