Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Angel Bat Dawid and Tha Brothahood - LIVE (International Anthem Records, 2020)

Recorded during the 2019 JazzFest Berlin, with clarinetist, songwriter and singer Angel Bat Dawid and her band was fired up after being poorly treated by the festival hierarchy and the citizens of Berlin. They circled the wagons and gave a passionate performance, opening the album with a field recording of her being hassled while trying to play the piano and sing in her hotel, leading into an incantation like version “Enlightenment” which gradually leads us into her original music. The music becomes justifiably serious and intense with her songs “Black Family” and “What Shall I Tell My Children Who are Black?” The former is a beautifully proud declaration of strength and power of the family unit come what may, with Dawid repeatedly exclaiming “The black family is the strongest institution in the world,” with utter conviction. The latter is a slower and more poignant performance, an extraordinary feat of singing where Dawid implores the audience, the world and the universe for answers about what to tell black children about how young black men are hunted down and shot by the police, why the die in much greater numbers from COVID-19 and many other travails of modern life in a racially fraught society. “We Are Starzz” stretches the canvas wide for free jazz extemporization with David’s vocals and clarinet along with saxophone, powerful bass and drums. The final track "HELL" takes excerpts from Dawid's appearance at the festival's panel discussion, wrapped in a tsunami of electronic effects that exorcise the frustration she felt at the whole situation. Angel Bat Dawid is an extraordinary live performer who truly inhabits the music she writes and performs. Melding gospel, free jazz and defiant protest music she creates one of the most powerful and profoundly alive albums of this year. Live - amazon.com

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