Best of 2016 #8: Psychic Temple – “Plays Music for Airports” (Joyful Noise)


At first blush, it would seem like something out of the blue for a jazz ensemble to perform a rendition of Brian Eno’s classic ambient drone recording Music for Airports.  But when that album originally came out four decades ago, Miles Davis was pushing boundaries along the jazz rock divide that led to the ambient music tranquility of In a Silent Way, so that Eno might become a focal point on the modern jazz scene isn’t completely inexplicable.  That said, the Chris Schlarb ensemble Psychic Temple perform not one, but two inspired, distinct takes, and the way each honor the original while expanding the vision into modern jazz and a throwback jazz-rock fusion is a jaw-dropping accomplishment.  In addition, Schlarb sandwiches those two renditions around a modern piece that behaves as an updated version of the Miles Davis fusion period when tranquility wasn’t the desired effect, and where funky grooves and joyful solos all had motion in mind.  Psychic Temple consists of artists who travel music territories beyond those that demarcate the borders of jazz, and that ability to cross over to all kinds of expressions serves this music well.  Everything about this album is seriously inspired, and it’s the kind of project that possesses a certain logic that can leave a person wondering how come it’s only now that someone thought to do it.

Jazz from Long Beach, CA.

Read more about the album at Bird is the Worm (LINK).