TaxiWars make a terrific funky racket, but seem at great pains to assert that what they do is jazz. It’d be a pity if their insistence on that tag put anyone off because Fever is a blazing mix of hip-hop, beatnik poetry and what in New York in the 70s was called No Wave. Fundamentally, it’s too loose, energetic and free-spirited to fit under any specific flag.
Fronted by dEUS singer and all-round boho spirit Tom Barman, the world’s most interesting Belgian, it flies on the wings of Robin Verheyen’s parping, aggressive saxophone and the heated rhythms of bassist Nicolas Thys and drummer Antoine Pierre. Barman brings the art rock sensibility of dEUS to the grooves, which go hell for leather from the opening hustle and bustle of Fever. It’s like being trapped in a sweaty, smoky, subterranean bar with a gang of immensely fun people who can quote Kerouac verbatim. So yes, it’s jazz in that sense, and they’ve won plaudits from the genre’s influential critics. Yet it’s accessible, dances like a dervish and has the confidence to take things down to a sleazy glide for the Gainsbourg-like Airplane Song, and channelling Pharoah Saunders for the meandering Egyptian Nights. Catch this.