The New Cool: Unstoppable Grooves of Velocity

Mar 31, 2017

Tacoma quartet Velocity builds some serious musical inertia when they motor up to Seattle for a show at the Seamonster Lounge on April 1. No fooling, these four take their grooves seriously.

Their songs are mostly written by keyboard player Peter Adams, with Cliff Colon blowing a muscular tenor sax; Rob Hutchinson and Brian Smith form the rhythm pocket at the bass and drums.

Fusing jazz-improvisational skills with a love of the mathematical twists and turns of progressive rock, the group was founded around 2012 by Adams and Smith. They told us during their KNKX studio session a year ago that they would start with a groove on keys, then try to fit that into a complex time signature like 5/8 time.

“I think the goal with all these songs is to write stuff we can’t play and then learn how to play it,” said Adams.

The band solidified after a few months of gigging around Tacoma, expanding their twisty version of soul and funk with elements of swing, Latin music, and catchy hooks. They also find a lot of inspiration and influence from their musician friends around Puget Sound, “like the music scene has been since the early 90s,” says sax man Colon, “Those bands were influencing each other. With McTuff and Hardcoretet and all those bands that are doing that jam-based groove stuff, it’s kind of like the 'gumbo' of the Northwest.”

Velocity’s tasty tune “Mosaic” leads off this week’s edition of The New Cool, and you’ll find a heaping helping of their music live at Seamonster Lounge April 1. Their mini-tour continues back home in Tacoma with a show at the University of Puget Sound on April 11, and they’re at Rhythm and Rye in Olympia April 17.

Whether or not you can make it to that show in Wallingford, Velocity is always live and on demand at knkx.org. Feel free to share it with your friends!

The New Cool airs Saturdays at 3:00 p.m. The program is hosted by Abe Beeson and produced by KNKX Public Radio in Seattle, Wash.