The music of the Frank Irwin Quintet is as authentic as its band leader, Chris Frank. Frank brings an energy to the creative process and live show that is infectious and unique. His compositions push the boundaries of jazz and allow for players to lean into a nontraditional take on the genre that doesn't have much care for playing the jazz standards.
But don’t let that confuse you. This doesn’t come from a lack of respect for jazz history—Frank is certainly a student of the game, and he’s always absorbing new ways to infect his own process; he just wants to let that inspiration flow from many different genres of music, as well as different art forms all together. This exemplifies his ambitious attitude, or what he would call “Slytherin,” an approach that inspired the creation of two releases this year, one being a hip-hop remix album of the band’s debut release, Better / Broken, titled Broken Beats.
Frank enlisted some of Portland’s finest producers to create their own takes on tracks from Better / Broken as well as the band’s most recent release, Teleportation EP, which continues to lean into that free attitude. The music resembles jazz, but it also feels like R&B and hip-hop at times, and heavier progressive moments have elements of edgier rock vibes. The creative nature of the project offers something for jazz lovers, but it also serves as an access point for those who enjoy other genres of music and appreciate storytelling through instrumentation, a strength of Frank’s compositions.