Apr 20 2016
This is one of those albums where the motion just sweeps you up and takes you along for the ride right from the first notes. “Determined Soul” is all about the bursting rhythmic fireworks, but the way it perpetually whistles the melody under its breath accentuates the percussion with an easy-going dance. “Baby Aya,” the same. Guitarist Lionel Loueke is the linchpin of that approach, matching the rhythmic complexity with sweet, succinct statements of melody. Tying the two deliveries into one bundle is Jason Lindner, who compels his piano and keyboards to frame the forward motion with melodic lines that converge and dissect Loueke’s linear path, while also capturing a small bit of the essence of the rhythmic focus shaped by percussionist Gilmar Gomes.
Loueke and Angélique Kidjo add some welcome vocal contributions that shift between playful accentuation and deep harmonic comfort. Bassist Omer Avital switches over to oud on “Big in Yemen,” adding more depth and more dynamics to the rich texture of the recording. Remarkably, even with all that gets put into play on this session, the tunes are supremely catchy.
But this is nothing new for drummer Daniel Freedman. His 2012 release Bamako By Bus was compelling for similar reasons, and though the forms of expression and sources of influence have changed for his 2016 release Imagine That, expect to get swept up by Freedman’s immaculate touch at delivering complex music with a lightheated delivery, and a knack for coalescing many moving parts into one fluid motion.
They add a nice infusion of harmonic intensity with a cover of Radiohead’s “Codex,” which, following up on a similar approach to the climax of “Big in Yemen,” makes for a nice emotional transition, too. The cool blues of “Love Takes Time” keeps the dance action going, but slows it down to an appealing sway and slide. Likewise, on “Mindaho” and “Eastern Elegy,” the quintet takes their foot off the gas pedal, though with the former, they change their mind midstream and floor it, whereas on the latter, the quintet is content to just peacefully coast along. The album ends much in the way it began, though punctuated with a heavier step and the rapid pulse of “The Sisters Dance.”
It’s ridiculous how damn good Freedman’s last two recordings are. Go scoop ’em up.
Your album personnel: Daniel Freedman (drums), Lionel Loueke (guitar, vocals), Jason Lindner (piano, keyboards), Omer Avital (bass, oud), Gilmar Gomes (percussion) and guest: Angélique Kidjo (vocals).
Released on Anzic Records.
Listen to more of the album on Anzic’s Bandcamp page.
Jazz from NYC.
And be sure to check out Freedman’s previous album, Bamako By Bus, which, naturally, you can read all about here on this site.
Read more -> (LINK).