arrow
bar_big image

The Royal Krunk Jazz Orkestra - 'Get It How You Live'

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

Russell Gunn's Royal Krunk Jazz Orkestra has a lovely familiarity to it. Wes Funderburk & Gunn's arrangements for his large ensemble, headquartered out of Atlanta (and recorded at my own alma mater, Morehouse College), calls up numerous black musical influences, like it's an album that could play solidly through the Tom Joyner Morning Show, only interspersed by the radio soap "It's Your World". It's all laid out in their new album's introductory track, Get It How You Live's thesis-- that an intermingling of genres can find the right audience where fans from different quarters can end their squabbles. It's all in the choices: "Sybil's Blues" (otherwise known as the sample to Digable Planets' "Cool Like That", "If I Ever Fall in Love" by Shai, two DeBarge songs, Gunn's own "Lyne's Joint" (which has always sounded a couple steps away from being Janet Jackson's "I Get So Lonely"). Gunn has not chosen to make an album of jazz standards, but instead R&B encroaching on "old school joints", like the album is asking its listener what it knows about that music, youngblood? Thusly, like most other nostalgia-inducing works, Get It How You Live provides all the good feelings Gunn was going for so directly in these arrangements.

bar_big image

Javier Santiago - 'Phoenix'

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

The ease with which one can cling to keyboardist Javier Santiago is very reminiscent, oddly enough, of the better corners of smooth jazz. Santiago as a leader melds the best elements of jazz, R&B, and soul in very contemporary senses while maintaining an accessibility that can please many. This is an album that celebrates nature, so why would a human connection to tones not be apparent? There's something easy about listening to Phoenix out now on Ropeadope, which makes it something easy to listen to over and over again.

bar_big image

Blacks' Myths - 's/t'

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

Washington, DC, duo Blacks' Myths are hypnotically gripping. In five compositions (three of considerable length), the pair are exploring the realm of ambient music, Afrobeat, drone, and jazz, finding ways to be charmingly weird. Bassist Luke Stewart and drummer Warren G. "Trae" Crudup III are the rhythm section of saxophonist James Brandon Lewis' trio, and they certainly show all kinds of range with that configuration. However, on their own, it's fascinating to hear how their inclinations is to stretch out their ideas as far as they can go, to fully inhabit a groove like riding out an acid trip through all its twists and turns. This album is Steward and Crudup unhinged for almost 45 minutes and it's far too cool not to revisit. It's literally a drum & bass album, at a top notch one at that. Check out their debut album, out now on Atlantic Rhythms, after the jump.

bar_big image

Justin Brown - 'NYEUSI'

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

For years, I have referred to Justin Brown as a murderer. He has an adeptness at the drum kit so technically rambunctious, so particularly expressive, that one's previous thinking about what drums can do dies. This has been the clear case for years in a percussive sense, however, Brown also has this capability as a composer and bandleader, as shown in his debut album, NYEUSI, out now on Biophilia Records.

bar_big image

Broken Shadows - The North Door - June 20, 2018

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

Paper burns at 451°F. At what temperature do master musicians start burning? When everything is going just right on stage? Broken Shadows -- the quartet of Tim Berne on alto saxophone, Chris Speed on tenor saxophone, Reid Anderson on base, and Dave King on drums -- concluded their tour in Austin, Texas, last Wednesday, an appropriate location for a band united to celebrate music of Texas composers-- Ornette Coleman, Dewey Redman, and Julius Hemphill. There aren't many instances in which jazz today celebrates the works of Coleman, Redman, and Hemphill. Yes, they come up every now and again but in such a concentrated, celebrated form, this isn't so much the case. A group like this looking at work like this is special. Coleman, Hemphill, and Redman were all from Fort Worth, Texas; it only made sense that the store would conclude in Texas, as Berne noted early on stage.