Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Logan Richardson - Blues People (Ropeadope, 2018)

Logan Richardson (check out the Burning Ambulance interview) is a smart young saxophone player with an admirably wide field of view. He not only nods toward the classic book Blues Peopleby Amari Baraka, but he incorporates ideas from rock music, hip-hop and acoustic blues into his overall conception. He is joined in this album by Justus West and Igor Osypov on guitar, DeAndre Manning on bass, Ryan Lee on drums. They create a rough and ready sound, heavy on the grinding electric guitar with a tight rhythm section holding court and Richardson weaving through and around the thicket of sound. He mixes longer performances with shorter interludes like “Country Boy” which ingeniously melds old school slide guitar with glitchy electronic music. After a short spoken word opening, the group moves into "Hidden Figures" building up from a drumbeat and distorted guitar with yearning saxophone patrolling the perimeter of the music, and allowing it to unfold gradually, with short peals of saxophone breaking out of the murky backdrop. The the group moves into "80's Child," an interesting pastiche of period sounding percussion and electronics with yearning saxophone caught in the middle, building to a jazz-rock setup with a strong rhythmic component. "Class Wars" has the saxophone and guitars setting an emotional base of operations, yielding to thick bass and subtle drumming. Richardson plays long tones of heartfelt saxophone into the maw of the music, working hard to establish a groove that will allow the music to grow organically. The group blasts out with some dirty funk on "Rebels Rise" layering the guitars and bass to create a thick molten mass, using the electronics and saxophone alter the sound and keep it unruly but civil. Richardson's tone is very appealing, he has an emotionally vulnerable saxophone sound, one that pierces through any accompaniment in a memorable manner. "With U" has heavily distorted guitars and a scattered drumbeat creating an eerie soundscape, before the fluid saxophone pours in, negotiating an uneasy peace. The music moves forward with some stinging electric guitar playing, grinding through to the conclusion buoyed by long calls of saxophone. Lee develops a cool beat on "Urban Life" with chunky guitars and bass setting up a fine rhythmic foundation for Richardson to solo over, combining jazz fusion with gritty post-bop in an appealing way as the funky beat supports the lyrical saxophone. Finally "Pure Change" ends the album with shimmering electronics, that is a setup for a very funky fusion improvisation with tight rhythm and strong interplay between the guitars and saxophone. Blues People - amazon.com

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