The Fretless Brothers are Jon Catler (La Monte Young, Willie McBlind) and Dane Johnson (Beninghove’s Hangmen, Prelapse) on 12-Tone Ultra Plus guitars, Hansford Rowe (Gong) on 12-Tone Ultra Plus bass, andBrian Chase (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) on tuned drums. The music both swings and rocks over a fresh Harmonic palette that provides new sounds and incredibly challenging chord changes for the soloists to play over. Using microtonal guitars and basses with 36 different pitches per octave, the Fretless Brothers are the first Harmonic Series jazz group.
Their new CD, titled ‘Footsteps’, was recorded live at Water Music Studios in Hoboken, NJ and possesses a powerful energy only attainable through group interaction. The songs, composed by Jon Catler, combine a unique compositional style that fuses the special Harmonic content with a strong rhythmic energy and an individual melodic sense. Songs like East Coast Blues and Grace entice the listener with a new sound that retains a classic appreciation of melody and rhythm. In the title song, Footsteps, the traveling chord changes move by very quickly, but the improvisation stays swinging and melodic. Stillwalker also displays a melodic guitar statement over chord changes that combine a microtonal moving line with pedal tones. The solo guitar piece Extinction reveals some of the extended Overtone chords possible in this new tuning system. Cat’s Boogie is a hyperspeed Harmonic boogie with both guitarists stretching out. The CD closes with Lament, which uses the classical technique of canons based on an ancient Greek Tetrachord as the basis for another beautiful guitar melody.