Iron Kim Style was founded in the early 2000s by bassist Ryan Berg, who recruited four like-minded veterans of various bands he had played in over the years. Berg’s musical partnership with guitarist Dennis Rea goes back to the early ‘90s in Taiwan, where the two played together in a number of pioneering progressive bands, and continued in the Seattle-based art-rock group Axolotl with drummer Jay Jaskot and guitarist Bill Horist. Berg, Jaskot, and guitarist Thaddaeus Brophy first collaborated in the Seattle improv trio State, and Berg and Jaskot went on to work together in the acid-funk juggernaut HighRize with future Iron Kim Style trumpet player Bill Jones. A unique concatenation of quicksilver melodies, jagged shards, volcanic crescendos, and hurtling polyrhythms, Iron Kim Style serves as an ideal vehicle for the simpatico quintet’s more unfettered energies.
Dennis Rea's adventurous guitar playing blends modern jazz, creative rock, experimental music, and world musical traditions into an approach that is uniquely his own. Over the years Dennis — also heard with his band Moraine (including Iron Kim Style drummer Jay Jaskot) on the MoonJune Records release manifest deNsity — has led or been a key contributor to numerous innovative groups including Land, Stackpole, Axolotl, Savant, Earthstar, Identity Crisis, Chekov, and Ting Bu Dong. He has performed or recorded with such prominent creative musicians as Han Bennink, Hector Zazou, Klaus Schulze, Stuart Dempster, and godfather of Chinese rock Cui Jian, as well as members of King Crimson, R.E.M., Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Ministry, and the Sun Ra Arkestra. He has collaborated with many of the most important figures in contemporary Chinese music and was one of the first Western musicians to record an album for the state-owned China Record Company. His activities have included film, theater, radio, and modern dance, and he has appeared on nearly 30 recordings to date. He is also an accomplished author whose most recent work is the book Live at the Forbidden City: Musical Encounters in China and Taiwan, a portrait of the emerging Chinese rock and jazz scenes and a chronicle of his musical adventures in the Far East. His forthcoming CD Views from Chicheng Precipice, a radical reimagining of East Asian traditional music, will be released by MoonJune Records in spring 2010.
Encyclopedic trumpet player Bill Jones covers the musical waterfront, bringing his distinctive voice to jazz, punk, funk, opera, pop, reggae, electronic, hip hop, blues, dub, and free-improv contexts. He first came to prominence in the celebrated 1990s ska band the Mudsharks, and currently tours regularly with Pacific Northwest reggae mainstays Clinton Fearon (famous as house bassist for Lee "Scratch" Perry's Black Ark Studio) and the Boogie Brown Band. In addition to these projects and Iron Kim Style, Bill also gigs with Plan B, playing ambient hip hop electronica with live instruments. In Iron Kim Style, he plays muted trumpet embellished with echo and wah pedals through a 100-watt amplifier.
Thaddaeus Brophy learned to play guitar at age 8, 12, 16, 19, 20, 26, 34, 36, and 39. Most of these intensive episodes of instrumental development coincide with the creation of original but eventually and/or ultimately boring (at least to himself), 'classic' rock, heavy metal, and twentieth century classist musics, plus a great deal of neighborhood noise. The material that was certain to transpire from this and a 'zeal' for overdetermined rhythmic phrase grammars means kick-ass temporal significance on a Rickenbacker 620-12, mind you.
Ryan Berg has been a veteran of the Seattle music scene for 15 years and counting. Although he began his musical training in drums and percussion, he finds his musical center with the electric fretted and fretless bass. He has been a founding member of numerous bands of many musical persuasions (Iron Kim Style, The Decliners, Seewall, HighRize, Jetlegrs, Axolotl, King Size American, State, Laud, and the BJS), toured both domestically and internationally (most recently in Taiwan), participated in various music festivals, and performed in a solo capacity. He has been cited for his “strong presence” in the Seattle Weekly and is known as a rock-steady player unafraid to venture into improvised music, jazz, drum ’n’ bass, acid-funk, and metal-stomp rock.
Apart from his occasional forays with Iron Kim Style, Brooklyn-based drummer Jay Jaskot formerly manned the kit for MoonJune artists Moraine. He currently plays with the band miniJ, periodically rumbles about with James Whiton and the Downtown Apostles, and previously played a kaleidoscopic range of instrumental rock and jazz with the Brothers of Max Catharsis, DJ O.J. McVeigh, HighRize, and State.
Artists' website: www.myspace.com/ironkimstyle