Music » Critics' Picks

Darren Jessee

9 p.m. Monday, October 22. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Avenue.


Darren Jessee spent most of the 1990s as drummer for Ben Folds Five. But his contributions to that band always went beyond simply pounding out a rhythm for Folds' songs. Not only did Jessee co-write some of the band's best-known tunes — including the hit single "Brick" — but his triplet-based swing patterns often lent a unique identity to the arrangements, and his backup-vocal harmonies (with bassist Robert Sledge) were a defining ingredient in the Ben Folds Five sound. Jessee's most recent project Hotel Lights finds him also taking on multiple roles, as the main songwriter, vocalist, guitarist and pianist. Accordingly, the band's mostly acoustic-guitar-based sound is supported by more modern components such as floating keyboards, synthesizer subtleties and a drum machine pulse. The songs stand on their own, though — and their delicate nature and straightforward arrangements make them good candidates for Jessee's current acoustic tour with Hotel Lights' guitarist/producer Alan Weatherhead.

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