Lucid Culture


Free Jazz Luminaries on the Loose on the Lower East Side Today

Trumpeter Aquiles Navarro and drummer Tcheser Holmes are the core of protest jazz improvisers Irreversible Entanglements, who are opening a great afternoon of free jazz at 1:30 PM today, Sept 11 in the community garden at 33 E 1st St. just east of Second Ave. The show continues at 2:30 with violinist  Jason Kao Hwang‘s trio, then at 3:30 there’s vocalist Ellen Christi with bassist William Parker on other strings (sintir, most likely) and Jackson Krall on water phone and drums! East Village stalwart and baritone sax maven Dave Sewelson and his trio with Parker and drummer Bobby Kapp wind it up starting at 4:30.

Navarro and Holmes’ album Heritage of the Invisible II – streaming at Bandcamp – is yet another of the seemingly endless vault of recordings that were on track for a 2020 release but derailed by the plandemic. It’s a kitchen-sink record, peppered with spoken word, electronics, keyboard overdubs and a few cameos. In general, Navarro is the good cop with his terse, incisive themes while Holmes chews the scenery.

The opening and closing numbers are ambient, loopy things that could be termed helicoptering rainscapes. Navarro fires off darkly jubilant riffs into the reverb over Holmes’ driving cymbals in the second track, Plaintains. He hits a loose-limbed clave beneath Navarro’s incisive, flamenco-flavored lines in Pueblo, which is over way too soon. Next, he runs frenetic circles around Navarro’s resonance and Brigitte Zozula’s contrastingly silky vocals.

The rest of the record includes a jaunty piano blues interlude by Nick Sanders; hailstorms of press rolls contrasting with playful, loopy trumpet minimalism; and a couple of frenetic improvisations with Navarro on piano.

September 11, 2022 Posted by | jazz, Music, music, concert, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Smart, Relevant Protest Jazz From Irreversible Entanglements

Protest jazz quintet Irreversible Entanglements came together out of a 2015 Musicians Against Police Brutality response to the killing of Akai Gurley, who was gunned down in a New York housing project stairwell the year before. Their debut album, Who Sent You? is streaming at Bandcamp. It’s smart, conversational, powerful and surprisingly catchy stuff. MC Camae Ayewa (better known as Moor Mother), saxophonist Keir Neuringer, trumpeter Aquiles Navarro, bassist Luke Stewart and drummer Tcheser Holmes have a tight, purposeful rapport that echoes the Art Ensemble of Chicago’s more kinetic improvisations, and Ayewa’s lyrics are spot-on. If music that’s in touch with reality is your thing, this is your jam.

The album’s first track, The Code Noir Amina has a galloping, hypnotic Afrobeat groove with sunny, sustained horn lines shimmering overhead, building to a relentlessly tumbling drive and then receding elegantly. “At what point do we stand up…do we stand up at the breaking point? At the point of no return?” Ayewa asks.

The title track follows a similar pattern, from a big pummeling whirlwind of an intro to a series of rises and falls, the horns first spare and then frenetic. There are light electroacoustic touches, a quiet, persistent, echoey horn break in the middle and an unexpectedly calm, reflective djembe-and-sax outro. “What are you doing here in my home, my neighborhood, who sent you? Where did they tell you to patrol, to oversee, redeem, crucify? Did they tell you to walk around with your finger on the trigger? Who sent you? Did they tell you how long we’re supposed to stay here, under your gun, the occupation, who sent you?” Ayewa wants to know. What an appropriate song for this summer, right?

No Mas opens with the horns building variations on a stark minor-key blues riff, then hits a bass-and-drums groove that’s the closest thing to straight-up hip-hop here. “No longer will we allow them to divide and conquer, divide and oppress, define our humanity,” Ayewa insists.

Blues Ideoogy is the album’s fastest number, starting out with a tight, racewalking pulse and fraying at the edges as it goes along: it’s a snide commentary alluding to child rape in the Catholic church. The album’s final track is Bread Out of Stone, Ayewa reflecting on a turbulent heritage of enslavement and resistance over a loopy bass-and-drums clave groove. If there are historians twenty years from now, they’ll look back to this as a foundational album for the beginning of a new era. But we’ll have to fight to get to that point if we do at all.

July 9, 2020 Posted by | jazz, Music, music, concert, poetry, rap music, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment