Bogg’s ‘Summer Harvest’ album review

Photo courtesy of Bogg

It’s impossible not to like Bogg.

The 2-year-old modern jazz band manages to make Britney Spears’ “Toxic” hip and musically intriguing.

It’s a fitting kick-off for “Summer Harvest,” the group’s locally-recorded third album filled with an eclectic mix of covers, from Charlie Parker’s “Scrapple From the Apple” to System of a Down’s “Toxicity.”

If someone thinks they don’t like jazz, they probably haven’t heard Bogg. The magic of Bogg lies in the fact that its musicians make jazz, about which many people have misconceptions of being stuffy or inaccessible, very accessible and fresh.

And this doesn’t stop with “Toxic.” It continues with the band’s intriguing choice to cover fan boy and girl favorites like “Zelda” and “Stickerbrush Symphony,” which is emotionally moving.

Bogg doesn’t just stick to a standard jazz sound. On tracks like “I Shot the Sheriff,” the rhythm gets downright funky and groovy.

And the execution of the covers is impressive throughout the album because Bogg’s musicians, who’ve been on the scene for years dabbling in folk, progressive rock and theater, are impressive.

Matthew Weiner’s impeccable violin skills shine in tracks like “Everybody Wants To Rule the World.”

And when it comes to keyboardist Josh Hegg, it’d be hard to imagine the musician ever making a misstep when putting his hands to the keys.

Michael Bone and Gavin Fitzgerald are the masters of cool and a dynamic rhythmic pair. And its never been cooler to be a bassist with local musicians like Gavin Fitzgerald around, whose solo in “Don’t Speak” is as captivating as any front-man’s guitar solo.

The only way this album could be better is if it had original tracks from Bogg. But, honestly, it doesn’t matter if it contains them.

The versatile, top-notch quartet makes the album’s covers recognizable enough to inspire listener intrigue while also switching up arrangements to make something familiar beautifully new and exciting.

Ashiah Scharaga can be reached at [email protected] or @AshiahD on Twitter.