Monday, November 11, 2013

Jazz, lounge, dub...and a guest shot by Bad Brains' H.R.

I've been listening to the hard-to-classify Chaliwa from John Zorn protege Jamie Saft's New Zion Trio a good big lately, and just noticed that the singer on "Chant It Down" is H.R. from Bad Brains.

That's a surprise, because, for the most part, Chaliwa is wonderfully reticent and insinuating, an acoustic simmer of piano, stand-up bass and drums. The album lives in jazz but visits reggae -- you hear the dub influence mostly in a slinky backbeat.

Anyway, it's a really good album but fantastically hard (at least for me) to write about. Let's leave it to Sean Murphy at PopMatters, who wrote:

"An ostensibly straightforward ensemble, featuring [Jamie] Saft’s keyboards, bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Craig Santiago, the trio manages to pull off a variety of sounds, ranging from narcotic lounge music (in a good way) to traditional piano jazz (think Bill Evans by way of Kingston) and darker-than-dread reggae meditations. On Chaliwa, the players double down on the dub, and the results are every bit as satisfying this time out."

You can read the whole review, including a good bit about Saft's other project Slobber Pup, here.

The album is out now on Veal Records.

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