Yesterday was a scheduled record-reshelving day, meaning there were the twin joys of cleaning up and finding some forgotten treasures among the heavy-rotation titles. It brought some respite from our greater unrest, loss, tragedy, protest, and pandemic, and for those of us who might have some time to spend listening to music, I thought I’d make this post.
The Tony Allen set is a solid survey of his drumming. These sides are mostly background inspiration for me, keep me on track with their deep 4/4 grooves, regardless of the task at hand. I bought this one at Earwax in Williamsburg.
I forgot I had this Hypnotic Brass Ensemble record and have no idea when or where I picked it up. A fascinating group to which I was first introduced by curator and former-record-shopping-companion Jesse Pires via a CD-R many years ago. The CD-R is gone but I’m pleased to report that Mr. Pires is doing well and by all available accounts, so is the HBE, whose rollicking jazz-informed, marching band/funk band hybrid is, indeed, hypnotic.
I’m not sure how to categorize Downtown Castles Can Never Block the Sun. Ben LaMar Gay has a lot on his mind and the lexical command of soul music and collage to render it in music. This is beautiful, intentional stuff, by turns jazzy, noisy, groovy, harmonious, cacophonous.
I know almost nothing about Dudu Pakwana or Diamond Express except that I picked this up a few years ago in Philadelphia at Long in the Tooth and that it is a remarkably energetic set. Most Arista Freedom releases are worth a listen, so when I saw this one, I was intrigued for musical reasons and by the apparently rodent-inflicted destruction of the jacket’s upper left corner. When I inquired about a discount for the missing portion, the clerk replied, “That’s some definite chompage. We can discount for that.”
Another Philly find, I picked up guitarist George Freeman’s Birth Sign at Beautiful World Syndicate because it was a Delmark release and because Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre was on the session. Unlike McIntyre-led work, however, this record strikes a familiar note of funky, bluesy, guitar-led jazz. A very satisfying album.