Brevard Museum of Art and Science, Melbourne, FL • May 29, 1999
This show was the first in the Argot Creative Music series, the new sibling of the Civic Minded Five series in Orlando, and the Emit series in St. Petersburg. And what a show it was. Beat Science is a “free-wheeling instrumental quintet from Orlando that mixes heavy groove and avant-garde composition with free improvisation” who, quite frankly tore it up to a crowd of older folks and Gen-X hipsters. With Doug Matthews, the bassist of the Sam Rivers Trio; Michael Welch, the drummer for Derek Bailey at the CM5 show, and a host of other luminaries, Beat Science would be expected to deliver, and deliver they did. The show opened with an improvised duel of duck calls by the bassist on a horn, and the drummer attacking the skins with sticks, a spatula, and a squeaky rubber toy. The rest of the band soon joined in for some rousing improv. The rest of the first set was a blur of standards, Monk tunes, original bits, and strong soloing by all of the members, especially Matthews, displaying some frenetic fingering. The second set was more “abstract,” with hints of popular songs mixed in with the rest of the music. For me, the most memorable moment was near the end of the show when someone spontaneously dropped in the “Lowrider” riff, which the rest of the band picked up on. Beat Science puts up a killer show, and if this is an indication of the quality of the Argot series, then Brevard is in for a treat.