When Build an Ark, the fine multi-generational, transcultural, multi-disciplinary Los Angeles jazz and soul musician's collective, released Peace with Every Step back init got notices overseas and in the home territories on the West Coast, but by and large it entered a void. Those who did hear it were struck by its originality, warmth, emotion, and sophistication; those who didn't missed out.
Luckily that set, released on the tiny Kindred Spirit imprint, wasn't a one-off. Dawn is the group's sophomore full-length on the excellent Shaman's Work label. What do they sound like? Like the title of the When Ancestors Speak - Build An Ark - Dawnthe first kiss of the sun as it emerges from the night sky. They owe the great spiritual jazz traditions built by labels like Tribe, Strata East, and Impulse, but they sound like no one but themselves. Though many of these players come from outside the jazz tradition, and indeed those from it come from the outer edges like Trible, who was with Archie Shepp and Horace Tapscott, and Ranelin, a co-founder of Tribe and session man extraordinaire.
That said, this music is decidedly inside. This is not a blowing session with the individual members investigating the outer realms and their own virtuosity at exploring it. This is a band that plays like a band and explores interiors, the inside spaces in the mind and heart and breath.
The music is Prologue (Waiting For This Coming) - Various - The Ritual Tape II but far from sleepy.
It is loaded with glorious energy, percolating, swinging, moving, breathing, and finger-popping grooves. Check the gorgeous bluesy entrance of "In Her Smile" written by Rosen, where Jacobson's cello and Atwood-Ferguson's viola play counter harmony, and Joey Dosik's alto evokes the smoky sound of Ben Webster's tenor as a melody unfolds itself in the center.
OnSanders' "You Yourself Are the Key to the Universe," Atwood-Ferguson's viola and Spiegelman's flutes hover through Ware's bowed bass, Rosen's pizzicato bass, and Jacobson's cello as Story holds all that low end in the grip of his brushes and it all begins to hover before moving into space. This music feels as natural as breathing no matter who is playing, even when Atwood-Ferguson evokes the pre-big-band jazz balladry of the early '30s alongside the classical tradition on "Heaven" with Renteria playing cymbals, piano, Wurlitzer, viola, cello, harp and bassoon.
But it's most readily apparent when Trible soars into action on "Healing Song" and the title cut, when his gorgeous spirit-filled croon reaches its upper and lower registers When Ancestors Speak - Build An Ark - Dawn feels like the bell of a horn telling a secret truth.
Nothing against other jazz singers, but Trible is a true original; he's invented a style of his own that lends itself equally well to improvisation and the musicality of any scale or culture, and its quality is healthy and clean -- it is like the sound of God.
The opening theme "Sunshine" plays Reklaw-Raheem's congas, Atwood-Ferguson's viola, Story's shimmering kit work, Morgan's piano, and Wheeler's bass exchanging with one another in a Latin groove.
Big Black makes an appearance as vocalist on his stunning composition "Love, Sweet Like Sugar Cane" and the way Rudolph's shakers lithely support that beautiful baritone voice is otherworldly; the viola, drums, and basslines intertwine with the harp to offer another meditation on bliss before the deep rhythm takes over on the title track where Morgan's piano and Wurlitzer lay out the deep soul fire groove funky bassline by Wheeler, and a chorus of vocalists lay out the message, in the cut, with popping drum breaks played by Story as Reklaw-Raheem's congas work up a storm and Atwood-Ferguson, a classical musician, soars around the fringes before turning down the volume and moving into something E For Electro - Various - Club FG.
DJ Radio Vol.2 – Zemixx Pan-Asian as Fred Hoan's beautiful "Butterfly Lover's Song. Here, Trible once more moans and calls out into the ether for the spirits to return; he becomes their voice as it is sustained by Raff's harp.
The viola becomes the voice that answers Trible, and calls him forth once more from a primeval time. A slew of percussion instruments -- played by When Ancestors Speak - Build An Ark - Dawn , Big Black, and Jackson -- with a skeletal bassline played on the cello by Jacobson, and a harp that floats around the talking drums and bell tree are the sounds of time and space as they move and shift, always in harmony with one another. The vocal interplay between Trible and all the singers here, including Angela Estrada, is enclosed in a circle provided by guitar, percussion, piano, strings, and bass.
The bottom line is that this ensemble in all its various configurations plays like a whole entity, a single band on many instruments with many voices, all focused on one thing: the healing force of music itself. Everyone in this band is present in these recordings, fully and instinctively in line with one another. And if there is less individual "blowing," so be it; there's been too much of that for When Ancestors Speak - Build An Ark - Dawn last decade anyway.
This is a music that can only be called jazz because it relies on the power of improvisers to play in an ensemble and create the kinetic energy to make these compositions work. Ultimately, Dawn is a new direction for jazz. It's soulful, utterly creative and limitless in its vision, and of a single mind in performance. The only thing better than hearing this record would be seeing these folks lay it down on a stage -- they've drawn raves from critics Social Damage - Demo II crowds alike whenever they play.
The collective known as Build an Ark re-create an impressively varied body of Praise - Marvin Gaye - In Our Lifetime, one that restores the soul, offers the mind a place to settle, and still gets down in the bone and marrow to let the groove energy present itself unfettered.
Finally, we have a new vision of jazz that has been liberated -- without anger or bitterness of any kind -- from the formal institutions that would make it a museum piece.
Electronic Folk International. Jazz Latin New Age. Aggressive Bittersweet Druggy. Energetic Happy Hypnotic. Romantic Sad Sentimental. Sexy Trippy All Moods. Drinking Hanging Out In Love. Introspection Late Night Partying. Rainy Day Relaxation Road Trip. Romantic Evening Sex All Themes. Features Interviews Lists. Streams Videos All Posts.
Release Date September 25, Genre Jazz Electronic Avant-Garde. Track Listing. Miguel Atwood-Ferguson. Build an Ark. Healing Song. Pharoah Sanders. Love, Sweet Like Sugar Cane. River Run. Adam Rudolph. When Ancestors Speak. Morning Glory. In Her Smile. Nick Rosen. You Yourself Are the Key to the Universe.
Sunshine Miguel Atwood-Ferguson. Spotify Amazon. Healing Song Pharoah Sanders. Dawn Miguel Atwood-Ferguson. River Run Adam Rudolph. When Ancestors Speak Avotcja. In Her Smile Nick Rosen. Heaven Miguel Atwood-Ferguson.
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