Michael Feinberg (b), Jon Irabagon, Morgan Guerin, Immanuel Wilkins, Tivon Pennicott, Jason Arce (saxes), Aaron Parks (p), Julian Schore, Jesse Fischer, Julian Pollack (keyb), Nasheet Waits, Jongkuk Kim (d), Melanie Charles (vcl, fl), Dayme Arocena (vcl)
Reference: FSRCD 5127
Bar code: 8427328651271
This album is heavily influenced by the artwork of Patrick James and it’s an incredible honor to use one of his images as the cover art. James creates 3 dimensional universes that live within an enclosed box. The viewer must look through a small hole to see the work and is immediately transported to James‘ imagination. Musically speaking I wanted to crate my own version of little worlds for my audience to peer into. Every song on this album exists on its own rather than as a part of the whole, and although I believe that it tells a linear story as an album each song can be just that. Many of the pieces in this album are memorials for those who have recently passed that were important to me. I dedicate this album to all of those who touched my life and music and made me the person I am today. Rest easy Leslie, Meghan, Charles, Ryuichi, and Roy. You are loved and never forgotten.
Afro Bloo is my reimagining of the classic by Mongo Santamaria. Featuring ewi and synths, this track has some influence from my studies and travels of West Africa and the Caribbean as well as jazz fusion and electronica.
Sacred Feminine is a track written by my former teacher and someone I refer to as the “jazz yoda” Hal Crook. This piece is an extended minor blues that has become my de facto finale on tour.
Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence and Tango are my arrangements of songs written by one of my favorite composers Ryuichi Sakamoto. Sakamoto’s music exhibits many of the things I love in music especially his sense of melody and contrast.
The Supreme Uniter is a solo piece I wrote in memory of Meghan Stabile. The first promoter in New York who really believed in me and gave me some big opportunities Meghan was an incredible human being and a true warrior for the music.
Crystalize began as an idea upon Roy Hargrove’s passing. I wanted to write something that I believe Roy would have liked to play on. This cyclic bass line and melody are what manifested. An homage to his work with Erykah Badu, I brought on Melanie Charles and Immanuel Wilkins to bring their special sauce to the mix and Crystalize formed.
Countdown is a contra fact of the John Coltrane classic of the same name. I debuted this song in 2009 at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC and had not performed it since. I always try to include something classic or swinging in my records and In conversation with Aaron Parks, he mentioned he loved playing over Countdown so I figured it was time to bring this one out of retirement.
For Charles Mingus’ centennial birthday I wanted to record one of his songs. Haiti has become one of the most important places in my life and it just made sense to honor the man and the place with Haitian Fight Song. I recorded all the bass parts at home during the pandemic and engineered this bass choir arrangement.
The finale of this record is Cocoon by Icelandic artist Bjork. I have long admired her work and attitude as an artist. It’s a simple song with incredible depth and I wanted the listener to leave this album with a feeling of peaceful transformation, especially given the nature of loss represented in the earlier works.
Elegúa Dayme Arocena is a Cuban vocalist who’s latest releases Cubafonia and Sonocardiogram are out on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings label. Dayme is one of the truly unique voices in world music and jazz and her background in traditional Cuban music informs her presence and sound.