Best of 2019 #45: Tomeka Reid Quartet – “Old New”


The words old and new may be given equal billing in the album’s title, but a cursory listen to the recording will reveal the album skews far more to the latter than former.  But that’s more of a measure of the levels of dissonance and tangled cadences that grace the Tomeka Reid Quartet’s 2019 release.  But all creativity is more than just the math of the medium’s characteristics and stats.  There’s the intent.  There’s the artist herself at the center of things, channeling everything inside, past, present and dreams of the future.  Reid is a musician of today.  Her music is going to reflect the diverse settings and kaleidoscopic influences, musical or otherwise, that shape the person, the cellist, who stepped into the recording studio.  Traditional music is a part of that composite.  The blues, swing, folk are as much a part of her as the oxygen she breathes.  And so they all emerge from Old New, in a new way, as Reid is today.  The blues manifest like a fond memory, and the swing is a photograph, vivid in its recall, timeless in its nature, but transformed by the undeniable passing of time.  This kind of experience, shared by the artist, is everything.

Your album personnel:  Tomeka Reid (cello), Mary Halvorson (guitar), Jason Roebke (bass), and Tomas Fujiwara (drums).

Released on Cuneiform Records.

Music from Chicago, IL.

I wrote about this album for The Bandcamp Daily.

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