Weekly Spins

Bring the Ruckus

Ruckus mash hip hop vocals with smooth jazz instrumentation.

John Coltrane once said you can play a shoestring if you are sincere. Logically, then, a band playing standard gear can be infectious—if they’ve got the heart. Of course, the language of music is never that simple, but even a quick listen to a group like Ruckus tells you that they’re playing for the right reasons.

Their most recent single “#Swag” has an aptly-chosen title: the sly delivery of Max Miller, aka MC Milla Thyme with the four-piece band behind him, move together and fit just like they should. The uncomplicated progression of the verse is well-ornamented by muted guitar, as the boisterous tenor sax jams. The party then comes inward, transitioning to fluttering phrases that really show off the tenor’s full range. The syncopation of the snare drum sets off the sax perfectly.

The bass rides well underneath, keeping the entire shebang on track, while the controlled but relaxed guitar serves more in the background, it provides a great bed for the punchier instruments.

Really though, what makes the tune are the soft, ambient sequences, reminiscent of A Tribe Called Quest. The comparison really isn’t much of a stretch; if I were in Ruckus, I’d too be saying that “we got the jazz.”

Ruckus / March 23 / Brutopia (1219 Crescent St.)