Much like a large urban area, there is a great deal going on here. It is different. Different is not bad just different. The evolution of modern jazz can set a recording from Gerald Clayton and use it as a beautiful centerpiece.
Clayton was formerly with Decca and much like the departure of Bone James to Concord, a divesting blow to the label. This 12 song set brings together Clayton's serious trio members along with vocalists Gretchen Parlato and up and coming "newbie" Sachal Vasandani. Along with these stellar voices we find the poet Carl Hancock Rux rounding out the ensemble. I've used the phrase jazz collective but never has it been more fitting then in this showcase.
Clayton is the ultimately team player as he seems to really dig bouncing ideas off the other members of the ensemble and end proof is in the pudding. Leadership combined with a deep unbinding love for the art form make Life Forum one of the highly intellectual yet deceptively accessible releases for the year. The opening tune "Life Forum" embraces the ease and grace with which life can be approached without all the divisiveness and strife that plagues society today. A personal favorite is "Future Reflection: which may well be a book end for Life Forum. Held together by the spoken word of Carl Hancock Rux, the tune celebrates passion, the danger of passion and with a more up tempo swing and ephemeral chants between Parlato and Vasandani and the glue holding this tune together is solid\a three man horn section. Justin Brown, Logan Richardson and a personal favorite Dayna Stephens hold the horn section tighter than tight. A righteous groove. Drummer Justin Brown rides the groove for all its worth. A priceless band. Another favorite is Man Nas Massa a whimsical piano melody with a jazz nasty. A sexy little samba you hear with your feat.
An album of growth and artistic development.
Tracks: Life The Forum; Future Reflection; Shadananthem; Sir Third; Deep Dry Ocean; Dusk Baby; Prelude; Some Always; Like Water; Unhidden; When an Angel Sheds Her Feather,