The Earth is Round, Don't Be Square

Sunday, January 13, 2013


Spiritual, Free, and Brazilian...

A few highlights from a recent trip to NYC, courtesy of Good Records and A-1.

Harlem Bush Music is a trans-Atlantic homecoming...a joyful chorus offering from man to nature...musically, a new world evolution of a spiritual people, centered on old world tradition.

'Coon Bid'Ness is an intensely soulful outing by avant reed man Julius Hemphill. Bluesy-free jazz with amazing horn work by Hemphill and side men Arthur Blythe (alto sax), Hamiet Bluiett (baritone sax), and Baikida E. J. Carroll (trumpet).

Heavy Spirits is another great LP in the Arista Freedom series. On side A, Oliver Lake's compositions are executed precisely by the musicians, without compromising any individual swagger. Side B stretches deeper into free territory: 3 songs feature Lake as one-third of a trio alongside 2 violins, each song telling a unique, short story, a solo Lake performance, and duet with drummer Charles "Bobo" Shaw end off an album that invites the listener to run it back again.

Maestro by Brazilian multi-instrumentalist Moacir Santos is a pleasant surprise in Blue Notes catalog. But don't expect a your average bossanova/samba affair. Santos takes us deeper with lesser-known Brazilian rhythms, yet still maintains an inviting sound.