Monday, February 18, 2013

Kendrick Scott Oracle / Conviction Concord 2013


Streets 03/26/12

I'm old school...Well, old anyway. I read liner notes and I am especially into cover art. "Spirit."
The first word that leaps to mind in regards to a highly intimate conceptualized release that takes a personal look at the tedium of everyday life and those that choose to make some special out of their time on this planet. An indelible mark.

Normally releases by instrumental artists with vocals drive me insane, spoken word passages are the absolute worst as they seek a level of pretentiousness that has little if anything to do with the art or the artist. Kendrick Scott and Conviction turn the conceptual nature of life, music, and the very vibe so many artist wish to hang their hat on and he flips it with the end result as an ambient contemporary gem that fans and casual listeners will be discussing for years to come. Scott has not been on the scene all that long but is far from a "newbie" as he has gone from "A" list session work to impeccable work as a leader starting with Concord back in 2007.
So what makes Conviction so special? There are no breaks between tracks with the end result a more contemporary suite for jazz orchestra should Scott have picked that route. On a personal level as I am currently fighting what is potentially a life threatening disease, there is a deceptively subtle and at times calming effect that Scott's compositions bring forth. A sense of peace. Normally releases such as this flat line quickly as the message over takes the medium, Scott flips it old school and allows the listener to take the message on individual values and character and apply this as they see fit.

The lineup for Oracle has changed which plays a major role in how Scott's compositions are brought to life. John Ellis takes on the saxophone and bass clarinet duties, Mike Moreno holds down the fort of guitar while the rhythm section is rounded out by Taylor Eigsti on piano and bassist Joe Sanders. Scott does open the release with respect to his gospel roots in a more traditional prayer of peace, faith, hope and love and this segues into "Pendulum" which has saxophone phenom John Ellis front and center. Scott and crew crush a cover of the Herbie Hancock tune "I Have A Dream" which flows seemlessly into a solo bass track "We Shall Overcome By Any Means." Conviction is loaded with flavor. Kendrick Scott welcomes you to the land of rhythm and groove and then takes you on a sonic path of enlightenment you never saw coming. The closing piece is a solo piano piece from Taylor Eigsti whose harmonic brilliance brings back memories of the late Bill Evans or the modern day Chick Corea much in the same way Scott takes you back to the days of Max Roach.

"Be The Ball..." While that is one of the numerous hysterical lines from the motion picture Caddy Shack, it is the sole meaning behind this release. Don't take things for granted anymore than you should be afraid to take that uncharted road to self discovery.