Hill's third release in as many years finds The Poet as an engaging session combining old school improvisational technique with a new school lyrical direction. Contemporary beatnik.
This is not a new approach but it is an eclectic riff on embracing what I like to refer to as old school improvisational technique with new cool attitude. The kind of release that is the sonic defibrillator post modern jazz needs to survive.
Does anyone remember melody, phrasing and tone? This is the very backbone that allows The Poet to elevate it self steps ahead of some contemporaries. While a seemingly simplistic conceptual idea, Marquis Hill and Blacktet maintain the incredibly difficult harmonic balancing act while Hill's contributions are like bits of colored glass that make up this melodic mosaic. The sound here is warm, rich, and meticulously developed. Latin percussion smolder just beneath the surface as a true improvisational collective explore Afro-Cuban grooves while an incredible three dimensional harmonic color palette is utilized to create that special zen like state of nothingness while a controlled sonic fury is moving with that ever present lyrical sense of purpose.
"Return Of The Student" is an effervescent swing while "Giovanna" is a tender ballad scored for Hill's girlfriend. "Nouveau Orleans" is a Hill riff on that famous second line pattern. When Hill and Blacktet play in odd meter, the most refreshing aspect of this working band is they know when to say when as they do not camp out in odd meter simply to make a self indulgent point. One of the surprise releases for 2013!
Tracks: Mary's Intro; Return Of The Student; Justin's Interlude; B-Tune; Phase II; Giovanna; Nouvelle Orleans; Josh's Interlude; The Poet; The Color Of Fear; Vella; The Indicator; Marquis's Interlude; Again Never; Legends Outro.
Personnel: Marquis Hill: Trumpet / Flugel Horn; Christopher McBride: Alto Saxophone; Justin Thomas: Vibraphones; Josh Moshier: Piano; Joshua Ramos: Bass; Makaya McCraven: Drums; Juan Pastor: Percussion; Mary E. Lawson: Spoken Word; Keith Winford: Spoken Word.