Get this crazy baby off my head!



Mathematicians - Irrational Numbers - 1994 - Aljabr

Appropriately named, this all-instrumental outfit from Indianapolis plays a driving rock-fusion that is at once complex, energized, and accessible. The lineup varies from track to track, but generally is a four piece of guitar/midi-guitar, keys, bass/Chapman Stick and drums with guesting help on flute, percussion, and acoustic piano. The seven tracks on this, their debut CD, show a high degree of compositional skill and musicianship, and plenty of originality to boot. Their style is identifiably American, yet not so immediately comparable to any others - hints of electric Al Dimeola surface from time to time, also Goodsall, Scott Henderson, Steve Morse, and others, but truthfully these guys are blazing their own trail. An impressive start for these Mathematicians, their disc is a smoker from the first track to the last, with nary a slow moment in between. Fans of the aforementioned should find much in their music to enjoy. My highest recommendation. - PETER THELEN-Exposé, Newark, CA

Where the hell have these guys been? From the Midwest comes this powerhouse quintet playing a fast and furious instrumental jazz/rock with an emphasis on the rock. Actually, Irrational Numbers' progressive attributes go off on a tangent to much modern fusion, as evidenced by the 'symphonic' rock aplomb of "Dance of the Nile", which might just be Yes if they covered Return to Forever or a hypothetical meeting between Uzeb and UK. Even when things get skanky and heavy ("Frontiers") the band's extraordinary arranging skills emphasize compositional over individual chops. Too bad the album is so short - at a mere thirty-five minutes, you wish its indomitable stamina could just go on forever. - DARREN BERGSTEIN-i/e Magazine, Phoenix, AZ

Here is an excellent little recording (37 minutes) of a quality that, alas, we rarely see at Harmonie. Why? Because the genre so superbly handled here is none other than jazz-rock. Yes, it's real, it's pure, the kind that makes fans of trash metal and hard rock consider a pain in the ... And so do even hardened "progsters" (I know a couple of them) who have forgotten that technique is an integral part of their favorite type of music. OK, so jazz-rock at its apogee (around '76-'77) had become overblown because some artists insisted on a certain pretentious "spirituality" or instrumental solos of diverse sorts with one point in common - they were unending. But when we run across some recordings from Weather Report, one or two things from Passport (a really good German group), Brand X and their second-hand drummer (Phil Collins) or a genuine certified 36 carat diamond, DiMeola live, MacLaughlin and DeLucia...a real marvel!, we can't help but feel a real wave of intense emotion. Well, when I hear the Mathematicians, I just can't help myself, my foot starts marking the rhythm, my head starts bobbing, and my face starts twitching in a way that may not be very flattering! Hey, these guys are really, really good (cool Jack) and burn up your speakers with a diabolical drum beat, controlled side-slips of six incandescent cords, and most of all with a "Fender Jazz Bass" which breathes the beat of life into the music, heavy and muted like a primitive pump that forms the heart of this festive and pleasurable music.
These Americans with a name that's a real turn-off for me (math and I crossed paths often enough but we never really got along) have put out a classy album, the technical sensuality of its mind-boggling but never boring, just the "super-work" of masters of technique who let themselves go wild, half-way between jazz and rock at a place it's good to find still exists after all these years. Placed among Uzeb, the only one to hold the torch above the crowd, Quidam and certain overheated exploits of Santana or of Satriani or Zappa (thanked by the way on the jacket), MATHEMATICIANS (grr....that name!) will tumble out onto your player like a hot potato. Be careful not to burn your fingers when you put it in. - Bruno Versmisse- Harmonie Magazine, Meulan, France

I finally got a hold of another copy of this album!! The Mathematicians are a great fusion band from the midwest that were shortlived, but did manage to put out 2 albums. I have yet to hear the 2nd album, but the 1st one, IRRATIONAL NUMBERS is brimming with great fusion ideas from the opening track SPANISH MAIN and even the 2nd track, DANCE OF THE NILE, you get the idea that this is a confident group of fusion musicians with tools to express their ideas. But for me the jewel of this album is the track RAIN. I love this tune and can't get enough of it. What I like about it mostly is the focus on Eddie Humphrey's bass playing which seems to be heavily influenced by Berrie Oakley of Allman Brothers fame. When I listen to this track I feel the same way I do when I space out to the Allman Brothers MOUNTAIN JAM, I feel like I'm in a car going for an extended drive on some route somewhere off the beaten path. I highly recommend this album for prog fusioners who like a hint of alllman brothers in their fusion. Review by & © drziltox © Prog Archives, All rights reserved http://www.progarchives.com/artist.asp?id=2354

The Mathematicians were a US Indiana based progressive jazz rock/fusion studio band formed in 1988 by drummer Kevin Kouts and guitarist Larry McCullough which released only two albums during the 90's. Bassist Eddy Humphrey describing the band's music said "It's hard to say what musical génre we ascribe to. It has been called heavy-metal jazz/rock, space jazz, art-rock. Whatever it is, it's just what we've come up with. We believe that music is a very mathematical exercise, hence our name. Everything about music - time, rhythm, pitch, phrasing, dynamics - it's all reducible to numbers. Einstein must have thought so too, for he once referred to the music of Mozart as the most mathematically pure music in existence. I would agree to that. Mathematicians began in 1988 as the brainchild of Larry McCullough, Kevin Kouts, and Bob Fields. The rest of us fell in line as we discovered how much fun this stuff was to play". This short lived fusion outfit's music has been compared to artists like Uzeb, 4 Front, Helmet Of Gnats, Al Dimeola, Frank Zappa, Brand X, and Steve Morse. "Irrational Numbers" is a short album but a worthwhile jazz rock release. It is original, inventive, musically intelligent, and has an extremely high level of musicianship. Try and listen to the band's "Factor of Four" album [All tracks @ 320 Kbps: File size = 75.1 Mb]


1. Spanish Main - 3:52
2. Dance Of The Nile - 5:28
3. Orlando Furioso - 4:20
4. Quadari - 4:23
5. Frontiers - 4:35
6. Rain - 7:26
7. Shellshock - 4:34

Tracks composed by Bob Fields and/or Larry McCullough


Larry McCullough - Guitars, Midi Guitars, Keyboards
Eddy Humphrey - Basses, "Chapman Stick", Backing Vocals
Bob Fields, Andy Ballard - Keyboards
Yun Hui - Keyboards, Tantra, Giggles
Kevin Kouts - Drums, Tabla, Bowed Cymbals
Kevin Kaiser - Percussion
Cathy Morris - Violins, Solos


Mathematicians is an interesting jazz/fusion band from USA. Very little is known about them here in PA, so I jumped on the chance to interview them and by this way gain some more info. I bought their albums some months ago too and they are interesting. I got in touch with Kevin Kouts and he patiently answered my questions. Q. When, where and by whom was your band born ? Did any of you, past and present members, play in any other bands before joining up in your band ? Why did you choose that name ? A. The band was born in June of 1987 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Founding members were Kevin Kouts, Larry McCullough, Bob Fields and Eddy Humphrey. Larry, Eddy and I all grew up in the same school system so we’ve known each other since middle school age. From 1978 to 1981, I played in Larry’s Progressive Rock band, Legacy. We played mostly original music but did cover a few tunes from Captain Beyond. From 1984 to 1986, Eddy and I were in the New Wave band, Abstractions. We released an album on vinyl in 1985 and had a video on MTV. I suggested the name. I have a degree in Mathematics from the University of Indianapolis. We had always discussed the notion that music was math so we thought the idea was clever. However, very few people got the reference. As for “marketing”, the idea is a failure! Most people are really turned off by math: Which, of course, made the whole thing even more humorous. Q. Over to your two albums. Your debut album Irrational Numbers was released in 1994. Please tell us more about this album. A. A band’s first album is usually the best material. Not necessarily played the best, but the music is pure and usually has no preconceived market or concept. That was the case with us. We didn’t care at all about trying to market to an audience. We wrote to satisfy ourselves. The only thing we knew on day one was that we liked jazz/rock fusion. So, as a place to start, our first few rehearsals we played tunes by Jean-Luc Ponty. But almost immediately originals became the main focus. Both Bob and Larry were prolific writers. So we had the luxury of a large number of good ideas to pick from and develop. We also had the luxury of playing those tunes “Live” for 4 years before we ever attempted to record a CD. We also must have been pretty hard on keyboard players. We went through three of them in the years before the CD release. You’ll notice three keyboardists on the CD. That style of music requires a lot of notes and a lot of soloing and NOT a lot of pay! Q. Your second album Factor of Four was released in 1996. Please tell us more about this album. A. Factor of Four picked up where we left off. The tunes on that record had been around awhile so we wanted to record them as well. We also wanted to redeem ourselves a little bit. We thought that we had “hurried” the first CD and wanted to make sure that we played better on the second. We did play better, but the studio we used was transitioning from analog to digital. The engineer wasn’t use to the technology yet and most of the mixes got oversampled. You can hear digital clipping all over that CD: a bit of a disappointment. We had the great Bob Katz do the mastering. He was able to help fix some of the flaws and educate the engineer in the process. Putting the final product together was fun in that it took a lot of travel. It was mastered in New York, the artwork was done in Chicago and the record distribution was out of Los Angeles. Q. What have you been up to since 1996 and what is your latest update ? What is your plans for this year and beyond ? A. We were working on a third CD in the late 90’s when we decided to take a break. It had been 10 years and we had just lost our fourth keyboardist. We thought we’d take a year off but it ended up being another 13! Eddy and I had been playing with other bands in a variety of styles so we kept at it. Larry, always the composer, built a home studio and continued to write. A little over a year ago we decided to retool the band and record another CD. This time we’ve added vocals and have gone from jazz/rock to a sound more reminiscent of Genesis and Gentle Giant. Most of the tracks are complete and the vocals are being worked on currently. We are hoping that the CD will be available later this Summer. As far as the future is concerned, we don’t have any plans. Touring with a band that large with all the equipment and support is not really financially feasible. Not to do it justice anyway. Q. Your music has been described as fusion and even jazz. But how would you describe you music and which bands would you compare yourself with ? A. Originally we would have called it jazz/rock fusion. We fashioned ourselves after Jean-Luc Ponty and Billy Cobham and those types of early 70’s instrumental bands. For awhile we would ask audience members to help us decide what genre to call it. One of the better ones was, “Space Jazz”. (Which is humorous because it never had any real jazz in it). One guy called it “Rock with a Jazz Mindset” because of all the improvisation and extreme soloing. A fellow musician called us “Brave”! I’m sure some called it names that we can’t repeat in polite company! The new music though is very much Progressive Rock. The tunes are all beautifully composed with very little soloing at all. Just wonderful music… Q. To wrap up this interview, is there anything you want to add to this interview ? A. We want to thank you for your interest. We are still amazed that a little band from Indiana is still selling CDs and being played on radio stations all over the world.
Thank you to Kevin Kouts for this interview
Author & © toroddfuglesteg Topic: Mathematicians Posted: May 29 2011 at 05:52 © 2001-2010 Web Wiz © http://www.progarchives.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=78656

1 comment:

A.O.O.F.C said...


p/w if needed is aoofc