“After hearing them in Aspen this past summer, NJMH Directors Loren Schoenberg and Christian McBride agreed that Slumgum was a brilliant band … we were both knocked out by their originality and artistry. We decided right then and there to bring them to NYC as soon as we could.”

                       –Christian McBride and Loren Schoenberg, National Jazz Museum in Harlem


“A brightly twisted product of CalArts’ music program, the quartet Slumgum has played off-center local incubators like the Blue Whale and the Steve Allen Theater’s experimental showcase ResBox. Rising out of Rory Cowal’s flickering Fender Rhodes keyboard, “Hancho Pancho” expands into a growling storm led by saxophonist Jon Armstrong, and the thoughtful “Afternoon” showcases the band’s care with slow-burning acoustic atmosphere … the group’s vivid sense of melody and relentless drive for exploration mark it as a quartet to watch.”

                       –Chris Barton, Los Angeles Times


“[Slumgum] opened with a relaxed set keynoted by Jon Armstrong’s warm tenor sax. The drums and bass of Trevor Anderies and Dave Tranchina switched from pushy groove to breezy scatter while Rory Cowal … hinted at Vienna and India, Spain and Coltrane.  Slumgum switched moods — pastoral, cheerful, meditative, romantic — yet retained a casual group identity formed by years of collaboration, and maintained a web-like hold on the audience. It could play anywhere.”

                       –Greg Burk, LA Times


“Those with the good fortune to hear either of Slumgum’s recordings … or catch the band live stand the chance of obtaining a mind-expanding double-whammy. This quartet … specializes in the sort of original modern jazz that maintains an unshakable eye towards to the future while acknowledging, and drawing upon, the music’s storied past.  Slumgum’s compositional and instrumental abilities put it in the very top echelon of forward-looking, up-and-coming jazzers. While the band’s name and the CD’s odd title might suggest a scruffy, underground orientation, there is nothing scruffy about its music.”

                       –Dave Wayne,


 “[An] energized crowd is expected to be on hand for this weekend’s performance at ArtSpace 404 by Slumgum, an outstanding risk-taking jazz quartet from Los Angeles which calls to mind Wayne Shorter circa Speak No Evil fronting the Art Ensemble of Chicago … A sense of constant discovery runs through the quartet’s songs; their soloing is masterful, their veneer metropolitan and their technical prowess top-notch.”

                       –Gabe Meline, North Bay Bohemian


“All’s clear, true & finely wrought in Slumgum’s world, and I hope they’re elected president.”



“Thoughtful and adventurous, the quartet makes the listener feel at home with beautiful melodies and familiar elements from diverse musical traditions … unlike many avant-garde groups, these musicians do not abjure consonance or the simple triad. From that comfortable platform, the group launches itself and its audience into unexpected and wonderfully uncharted places … As varied as Slumgum compositions are, ranging from hard-driving postbop epics to short impressionistic poems, most share another quirky characteristic: unexpected but nonetheless well-integrated shifts in texture, rhythm, genre or mood. An unusual compositional technique accounts for those shifts”

                       –Mel Minter, The Alibi


 “Nice players … solid compositions, concepts, and solos. Quardboard Flavored Fiber is their best album yet; the jazz is torn to shreds in places by pianist Rory Cowal’s huge, gnarly Rhodes and then Jon Armstrong’s tenor puts things back in place. It’s weird and beautiful— pick it up.”

                       –Brick Wahl, LA Weekly


“The California quartet Slumgum has a unique approach to genre and technique: they blend jazz and contemporary classical music in a way that beautifully muddies the boundaries between composition and improvisation … Slumgum’s daring ‘a little bit of this, a little bit of that’ technique results in a sound that’s rich, compelling and, most of all, pure.”

                       –Sophie Gandler,


“Try standing on top of your desk. the new perspective will make things you’ve seen a million times seem fresh.  L.A.’s Slumgum has the same effect, creating expressive compositions you thought you knew well, but then taking it somewhere else.  Of course, experimental jazz is largely about the talent behind each outrageous noise, and, here, the drums and bass can barely tether Jon Armstrong on the tenor sax or Rory Cowal on the piano.  Listless wandering leads to a blazing overflow of sound, as if the whole band is playing harmoniously to a wild and atmospheric solo, and each measure can feel a world apart.  With elements of Miles Davis and world music, like Russian polka, try to hold on for the ride.”

                       –Jonathan Lopez, Good Times Santa Cruz


“Quardboard Flavored Fiber, the new album by Los Angeles band Slumgum, is a jazzy smorgasbord.  Pianist Rory Cowal’s ‘Afternoon’ is lovely and easy, practically an island in the stormy ocean of experimentation posed by the CD as a whole.  This music fills out a lot of different grooves, the appropriate adjectives including cool, spooky, beautiful, and wild.”

                       –Paul Weineman, Pasatiempo/The Santa Fe New Mexican


“Slumgum is a jazz quartet from L.A. with a name that only a beekeeper could love.  The young group’s sophisticated, elegant blend of modern classical music and avant-garde jazz belies its icky moniker.  The members formed Slumgum when they met as students at the Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts.  However, expect the band to sound more like the Art Ensemble of Chicago than the trumpeter who gave us Whipped Cream (and Other Delights). “Minuet in G” is an example of the group playing with contemporary classical conventions; the short song quickly unravels into dissonance before the band members reel it back in with restraint and a hint of melody.  Slumgum isn’t afraid to embark on a free form jazz odyssey, as evidenced by the monumental “Long Shadows” that’s just shy of 20 minutes.  The song’s length allows each of the members of Slumgum to make some bold moves—in particular, finishing the song with a harmonized vocal chant.”

                       –David Dunlap, Washington City Paper


“One of LA’s most compelling jazz groups”           



“Slumgum is so good. They tore it up a few weeks back at Nebraska Mondays. What’s great about them is that they really push what we think of as jazz into new territories. That and they shred.”

                       –Ross Hammond, founder and director of Sacramento’s ‘In The Flow Festival’


“A good jazz quartet from Los Angeles, Quardboard Flavored Fiber is their second opus.  Sweet-and-sour jazz with lots of room for collective improvisation, with a fine level of interaction and intelligently scored lines.  Fine and fun stuff.”



“[Slumgum] produced a vital and exciting mix of jazz, improv and contemporary classical music. A subtle interplay of signals they’ve worked out over their three years together brought a wild freshness to the sound and a sense of courtesy to their presentation. Crescendos and solos were vivid, creative and emotional. Transitions were seamless and quietly serene, a languid and long drawn-out note on the sax or bowed on the bass bringing time and attention to a change, without a beat lost. Hearing this gave me a sense of the scope of their improvisation and the flexibility, skill, talent and trust it took to create serious music that didn’t feel a bit improvised. I am stunned again now remembering their solo riffs and the incredible vitality of their skill and talent—seeing fingers flying over keys, strings and stops, and unusual, empowering drumming.

                       –Eugenia Kim,


 “[Slumgum's music] rolled over the now-packed club like a menu of ever-changing clouds … the result ebbed and flowed like fog coming in from the beach, then dissipating to reveal a fresh layer of cloud cover above. Whether meshing in ensemble play or laying back to give someone space to solo, Slumgum was superb—and quite magical. What came to mind was that their
approach referenced the deep coolness of West Coast jazz sounds from the ’50s—Dave Brubeck, Chet Baker—while adding a lot more fire and flair. If jazz improv is a group of people collaboratively levitating an object above the audience’s heads, Slumgum managed to fly a saucer into the room. The group will return next month for the In the Flow Festival, a don’t-miss event.”

                       –Jackson Griffith, Sacramento News & Review


“Slumgum’s new album, Quardboard Flavored Fiber, is reminiscent of Miles Davis’ quartet with Shorter and Hancock, but they deviate with their own sound that is very powerful. Their music is both simple and virtuosic, with a constant joy of invention and play. The timing of the songs is perfect, not a moment is wasted. The musicians each play as individuals yet together they form a seamless whole unit. The overall shape of the music has a classic feeling that allows the listener to enjoy the comfort of familiar territory, but the music is imbued with a great freedom that adds a pleasure of newness and discovery. The engineering by Wayne Peet, about whom I can not say enough good things, gives the group a presence, an amazing consistency and energy.”

                       –Noël Tachet, improjazz


“With their new album, Slumgum creates an intricate mesh of vibrant acoustic sounds, woven into pieces which are at times dense and full of energy … and at others much more refined. What is consistent throughout however is their clever use of space, and how instruments continually interact with each other … on five of the shorter ‘Big Fun’ pieces, they demonstrate just how extensive their range is, from the almost rock slant of ‘New Ruckus’ to the peaceful and ethereal ‘Natural Liberation’ to the more contrasted and experimental ‘Buzz Saw Flower Blossom’ … ‘Quardboard Flavored Fiber’ is a pretty impressive piece of work all round. Feeling at times pretty classic in its format, yet infused with very contemporary energy and vision, it is at once fresh and imaginative, and is yet another fine addition of the Accretions catalogue.”



“With technical mastery and a complex melodic language, … Slumgum brings together groove, catchy jazz structures, and comprehensible arrangements into a well-defined jazz ensemble format … [Quardboard Flavored Fiber] is relaxed and dynamic, the pieces press ahead briskly, constantly bringing unusual themes in sight and extravagant disharmony into play. And yet Slumgum remains melodic for the most part, enjoying the gentleness of their exquisite melodies, holding back to play enchantingly and refined, giving the songs a wide foundation so they can drive them toward a high-velocity breakdown. The band creates intense energy, a pulsating lavaflow that carries each idea toward timelessness, especially in their longer pieces. Slumgum has technical mastery, but they value emotional depth over complexity, and unfold this depth in heavy melancholy without becoming cheap or sweet, rather by working constantly in the abstract and edgy. Recommended!”



“Solid, well-played jazz … In essence, the quartet is tight as a torniquet and executes all scores with an appreciable level of accuracy and refinement … every member knows each other’s pockets as their own, knowing when the time is right to push the pedal down and when instead it is much better leaving quietness and a touch of mystery to decide the music’s orientation. In some of the tracks, the tendency to superimpose repetitive patterns is balanced by brilliant contrapuntal openings that – in an episode such as “Puce Over Pumpkin With A Hint Of Lime” – exude pure class”

                        –Massimo Ricci,