Monday, March 3, 2014

Tyrone Birkett/Emancipation, Postmodern Spirituals: The Promised Land

Officially this CD will be out on the 25th of this month. I happen to be listening early and so strike the keyboard now to convey my pleasure. We are talking about alto (mostly) saxophonist Tyrone Birkett and his group Emancipation. They have put together a really nice set they entitle Postmodern Spirituals: The Promised Land (Araminta 111562-02).

This is music in a mode you could call Post-Trane. It is music of a spirituality and consciousness raising Trane was all about, surely. And Tyrone both embodies elements of Trane and goes beyond it in his playing. In similar ways Gregory Royals (on piano and organ) (also Pablo Vergara on a few cuts) channels Tyner and Alice in his harmonic thrust and then adds his own ears and ideas. Paula Ralph Birkett distinguishes the music with a very powerful, soulful set of vocals (and reminds me just a little of Jean Carn). The original songs are nicely done and keep sounding better as you hear them repeatedly.

The rest of the players are strong, straddling jazz and funk with a strong push and good sense.

This is an album in the tradition of some of the progressive outings with a strong vocalist--that you heard from Norman Connors, Azar Lawrence, etc., back in the day. It's progressed, though, with the times.

Well all that said I do think this one is very hip, very good. Nice going!

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