Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Irreversible Entanglements - Who Sent You? (International Anthem, 2020)

Irreversible Entanglements burst on the scene a few years ago with a fierce album of spiritual jazz that sounded like the best of the 1960's "new thing" time warped into the present. This album continues in that vein with impressive instrumental playing an thoughtful lyrics from this powerhouse band: Camae Ayewa on vocals and songwriting, Keir Neuringer on saxophone and percussion, Aquiles Navarro on trumpet and percussion, Luke Stewart on bass and percussion and Tcheser Holmes on drums and congas. "The Code Noir / Amina" opens the album with thick bass and horn riffs, clearing the way for the vocalist to enter. She speaks a bold declaration of the rights of all people, true civil rights as the music frames the her like a cloak, both urging her on and protecting her. Horns flare, drums boom, and Stewart's bass weaves everything together. The medley "Who Sent You - Ritual" opens fast with a crushing intro of horns and drums at maximum volume, before fading a bit to allow the vocalist move to room. Ayewa sounds great, demanding, angry, with the music fierce and free, she meets it with paranoid yet justified lyrics, and storming improvisation meets the imploring vocals head on. Squalling free jazz gradual trumpet and drums long fade, adding more abstract lyrics, with hand percussion and saxophone to close out this epic piece. "No Mas"shows the horns phased and building to a memorable theme, followed by the elastic bass and drums diving in, forming and absolutely killing full band section, where the bass is just epic. The vocals are upbeat, backed by brash trumpet, soaring as the music and lyrics become bold and defiant.There is a subtle fast rhythm on "Blues Ideology" with storytelling around a tight groove that is upbeat, using fast saxophones to swirl around her commentary pushing the narrative faster. Slagging those at the top as the band rages, speaking truth to power. The quiet "Bread Out of Stone" concludes the album with bass and percussion framing a light groove, clanking percussion taut bass providing the backdrop for a narrative of time and space before a gradual fade out. Who Sent You? - amazon.com

Send comments to Tim.