Brownman Electryc Trio
4 out of 5
In their second CD, and first studio album, Brownman Ali and his “electryc” trio serve up some of the funkiest, forward thinking jazz which pays respect to past innovators like Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, and Donald Byrd, while pushing jazz into present and future tenses through its hip hop, funk, and Latin influences.
On paper, it may not seem much when a trio has a trumpet player, a bass player and a drummer without any chordal support. But when Brownman adds a few electric pedals, the bass to double on chords, and a dose of high energy, it is a band which has a fuller, rounded sound that is completely and distinctly their own.
The CD opens off with three standards, Harry Warren’s “There Will Never Be Another You”, Tadd Dameron’s “Lady Bird” and Herbie Hancock’s “Cantaloupe Island”, being taken and transformed into intriguing and different directions by the electric trio. “There Will Never Be Another You” is treated with a funk backdrop that will get present day music lovers grooving to a tried tested and true song. “Lady Bird”, starts off with a sample of Miles Davis introducing the tune from an old recording before giving a present day funk treatment that brings bebop to the present day. “Cantaloupe Island” is given quite the workout through intense soloing by Brownman, bassist Tyler Emond (out of six featured in the CD) and trading between drummer Colin Kingsmore.
This CD also showcases Brownman’s skills as a challenging composer through using odd time signatures not usually employed in funk settings. For instance, “Chocalet Citeh” uses a 7/4 time signature which provides some intense rhythms and solos while making it pretty groovy and danceable for the average listener. One of my favourites of the album, the aptly titled “Catholic School Girls” infuses complexity, intensity, and electronic wizardry admist a 10/8 backdrop and hip hop sampling.
“Gravitation” is a jazz CD that definitely has something for everyone who loves forward thinking jazz and tight grooves. For the jazz aficionado, the standards and compositions are a breath of fresh air to show that jazz is an art form that is ever evolving and growing from every year that passes by. Brownman breathes new life and personality into the jazz idiom, maintaining a voice that is uniquely fresh and uniquely his own as a result of this highly exciting and enthralling release. Thanks to people like Brownman, jazz in the 21st century is moving forward and going stronger as time goes on.
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(Brownman Electryc Trio Performing "Irrational Funktions")