Friday, December 15, 2017

Irreversible Entanglements - Irreversible Entanglements (International Anthem, 2017)

Irreversible Entanglements are a socially conscious free jazz group featuring the voice of Camae Ayewa with Keir Neuringer on alto saxophone, Aquiles Navarro on trumpet, Luke Stewart on bass and Tcheser Holmes on drums. The create an album that is a harrowing indictment of modern day race relations, creating protest jazz that takes the power of Billie Holiday's "Strange Fruit" and the We Insist album by Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln and brings it into the post-modern world. The album opens with "Chicago to Texas" which develops the foundation of the music with heavy foreboding percussion, and horns which build in heralding the spoken word which has defiant lyrics evoking aspects of religion and slavery over a powerfully resonant rhythm. There is a thick bass line that adds elasticity to the music, creating greater depth to frame the haunting refrains of the vocals. "Fireworks" opens with taut bass and nimble percussion, and declamatory words that draw from a deep reservoir of power. The full band blows hard adding gales of sound to reinforce the power of the words, building to a fast and exciting collective improvisation. Wild horns circulate through "Enough" with fast flurries of sound around the wordless scream of Ayewa's voice, sounding pained and hurt over crushing drums, as if her spirit is being mauled by the injustice and neglect of society. She regains her composure, sounding unbowed by her words as the horns arc overhead and the deep resonant bass holds everything together. Acidic alto saxophone develops a cutting solo and the trumpet cries as the names of the dead are read... Travon Martin, Micheal Brown, and too many more. The epic "Projects" concludes the album with drums slashing across the soundstage, leading the full group into a powerful and resilient performance, which cleaves space for the defiant vocals, speaking truth to power as clearly as June Tyson did when she sang with the Sun Ra Arkestra. It is a tale of the lost and lonely, put out on the streets and trying to survive in a cruel and violent world. It is a savage tale of economic inequality and haunting fear that is all to common. The story is given further wright by a raw interlude of saxophone and drums that drives home the imagery of the lyrics. This was a tremendously powerful and poignant album, one that mixes defiant words of social protest and fantastic instrumental interplay. This is a very important album that has much to say about contemporary America, it deserves your attention, and is very highly recommended. Irreversible Entanglements -

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