There’s evidence of a wasp infestation at the Ives branch of the New Haven Free Public Library. Evidence that sea levels have risen, and that blue crabs, mussels and whelks have moved into the basement. Evidence that birds have taken roost in the stacks.
“I usually hire people for gigs, people I’d watch movies with,” said Josh Walker, bandleader of his namesake jazz quartet. “That’s my benchmark. That’s the great thing about playing with guys like these. You go on the bandstand and it’s kind of a continuation of the hang.” The Josh Walker Quartet — playing together for the first time as a full band — hosted the bi-weekly Jazz Haven jam session at Three Sheets on Elm Street, playing a short set on Tuesday night that felt like a big deal, followed by the jam session.
A chugging acoustic guitar. A trombone groaning at the low end of its range. A simple, driving beat. It all gets the motor running on “Bat Man Hasil,” the opening track from Kevin MF King’s Description of an Orange Being Peeled. When the song is off and running, the vocals come in.
“Driving down the road feeling like i had enough,” King sings. “Drunk driving makes me give up / Got a failed idea of what’s down or up / Driving down the road feeling like i had enough / to rationalize this nonsense, I’m done / The highway is looking like these pictures / Lost luck.”
There’s an ominous, nervous energy to the whole song from the beginning that finds its release in layers of squalling guitars, actual alarms and police sirens, and gang vocals provided by what King calls The Divine & Merry Carpet Bomber Prayer Circle.