Jack Lion’s JAC EP features improvisational, electronic originals

 Iowa City electronic/ambient/jazz trio Jack Lion, having released the JAC EP in July, will tour in support of the EP in November of 2014.

The Iowa City Mill had this to say about the group: “Jack Lion’s members unearth the early ’00s interest in connections between jazz and electronic music and refashion it for this current era. Striking a balance between jazz composition, down-tempo break-beats, and hazy atmospherics they have made their mark as one of Iowa City’s headiest and most adventurous bands."

Drawing on their formal jazz training at the University of Iowa and years of experience in the Iowa City music scene in bands like Slip Silo and Koplant No, Jack Lion artfully incorporates live instruments and improvisation with computer-based production. "I like to sample things onstage, and the band often improvises around the samples to create new sections of the song on the fly," explains trumpeter and producer Brian Lewis Smith. "This gives the audience something unique every night and creates an interesting challenge for us."

The JAC EP features five original songs written by Smith and bassist/vocalist Drew Morton, and the band has chosen to release their music on cassettes sold with digital download cards. “Why cassettes? We love cassettes!” says Smith. “Most of the tracks on this EP were partially recorded with a four-track cassette tape recorder.”

Dean De Benedictis, an established electronic musician who has played with Brand X and Surface 10, remarks, “These guys are making some of the most innovative electro-acoustic jazz in the world right now...There's nothing standard or "smooth" or indulgent about this brand of ambient electro-acoustic music. It plows forward with artistic integrity and in the spirit of exploration and innovation..." He says Jack Lion is, “not only taking the next step but in my opinion could be creating a genre of their own...You can hear overtones of previous post-alternative bands like Tortoise and Mum, but these guys go much further.”

Jack Lion formed after the departure of Slip Silo’s guitarist, forcing remaining members Smith and Morton, along with drummer Justin LeDuc, to rethink their musical direction. During a trip to the West Coast in late 2013, the three musicians clambered into a cab driven by someone they won’t soon forget. “The driver was a major character, " explains Morton. "He had us laughing in the first ten seconds of the ride. He was a great storyteller and really seemed to enjoy his work. We thought that his joy would be a great symbol for our music, so we came up with a name inspired by his for the band. I would love to find him someday and show him our music!"

The JAC EP Tour will feature songs from the EP as well as new material to be released on Goldie Records in December of 2014. Please see the group’s website, jacklionsound.com, for a complete listing of dates.

Jack Lion is Brian Lewis Smith on trumpet, keys, and production, Drew Morton on bass, synth, and vocals, and Justin LeDuc on drumset and sampler.  

© 2017 Jack Lion