Free jazz is still, decades after its inception, a massive point of contention for some jazz fans. The freedom to create on the fly in any key with total melodic and harmonic freedom with often frantic rhythms can be hard to digest for the uninitiated. But for a musician and composer like me who is well acquainted with the avant-garde and the atonal; I live for the freedom that an anarchistic approach to melody and harmony creates.
It is in this that we find the music of The Paul Swest, who I have reviewed once before. Everything that this group does well is present once again, and I can without hesitation recommend this record to fans of the previous or free jazz fans looking for a new obsession.
Get Sports Car Illusions at https://thepaulswest.bandcamp.com/album/sports-car-illusions
Dallas-based Valenti Funk creates music that is cross-genre, expressive, and ultimately a reflection of not only him but all of the musicians that he creates with. The tracks on Valenti are a blast of funk (with special nods to George Clinton), reggae, and jazz. Every track is filled with powerful energy that invites you to dance or to chill the hell out. In either case, you can tell that Valenti Funk has honed his craft as a musician and songwriter to the point that it seems effortless (even though some of the lines, both rhythmic and melodic, are quite complex). It is a true pleasure to give this record a listen, I suggest you do the same.
Valenti is available on iTunes
Big Mean Sound Machine works as a unit to create music that is a nod to its influences (including Afrobeat, Dance, Experimental, and Funk). They respect and clearly have a deep understanding of the traditions they hold up while also creating a sound that is all its own. Their talent got the attention at one point of Tony Allen (Nigerian pioneer and co-creator of afrobeat with Fela Kuti and the Africa 70), whom they had the honor of playing with. The grooves, the harmonies, the ambient effects, the experimental melodies, and ultimately the spirit behind the music on Runnin’ for the Ghost results in music that you feel in your core. The songs call for you to get up and move.
Runnin’ for the Ghost can be found on iTunes