Artist: Black Art Jazz Collective
Album: Armor of Pride
Genre: Post-Bop, Contemporary Jazz
Quality: mp3, 320 kbps
Miller Time 07:25
Armor of Pride 06:52
Awuraa Amma 06:47
The Spin Doctor 04:56
And There She Was, Lovely as Ever 03:16
When Will We Learn 05:18
Black Art 05:26
I tend to get suspicious of people or groups that are named after a race. Does the BAJC really “maintain it’s roots in the African American culture”? Why does the excellent post bop music here by Wayne Escoffery/ts, Jeremy Pelt/tp, James Burton III/tb, Xavier Davis/p, Vincente Archer/b and Johnathan Blake/dr represent “black” music more than that of Louis Armstrong or even James Reese Europe? Also, what does “black” jazz sound like, as opposed to “white” or even “Filipino” jazz? There are scores of hilarious Blindfold tests of jazz giants incorrectly guessing the race of a jazz artist.
But I digress…
The eight originals by the band members here are incredibly strong and continue the tradition of post bop/modal jazz. The front line horn section jabs like a middleweight on the simmering “Black Art” and bop to delight on the snappy “The Spin Doctor.” Blake’s drums are hip and percolating as he coaxes the cool minor chords and Pelt’s sleek horn on “Miller Time” while he drives hard as the team gets urgent to Escoffery’s John Coltrane-toned urgency during “Armor of Pride.” Davis “When Will We Learn” features his dramatic piano work whereas the band lays down a cool soul on “Pretty.” Plenty of muscles are flexed throughout, with a mix of vintage harmonies teaming with modern directions making for a rich delight. Would love to see these guys in town, and have a good discussion on musical identity afterwards.
by George W. Harris