Thursday, September 04, 2014

New Releases: ROD McGAHA - The Black Flower Project; GUYMON ENSLEY - This Comes With It; GREG JOHNSON - City People


Rod McGaha's "The Black Flower Project" counts on this fact. And, why shouldn't it?. McGaha took a racially diverse, multi-generational group of musical artists and formed this project. If they could not only grasp the universality of the subject, but also build upon it, certainly it would be comprehensible for the listening masses. "The Black Flower Project" is an example of Identity Art going aural. McGaha launches into it with a rigorous, raw energy at the very beginning on the fiery tune, "The Challenge". You may not be sure if McGaha meant the challenge of self-examination or the challenge of viewing someone undergoing such an examination. However it is meant, we are both provoked and thrilled by the music. As always, Rod is a gentleman and sometime chooses to put us at ease with compositions like Lullaby and the titular, sublimely lovely, yet wonderfully soulful Black Flower.  Rod is also true to form by introducing tunes for your amusement like Bleep Blop and Cookout. And, if you were wondering, yes, he is aware of the melodic allusion to Bobby Timmon's Moanin'. Miles said it best, "Bad musicians borrow, the good musicians steal!" Songs like Inner Courage and Unexpected Soul make us consider the lush richness of the "African American experience". Certainly not to be missed is McGaha's attempt at a sort of mental slight of hand, causing us to look back so acutely that we somehow see the future. Rod does this on the tune When I Was Growin' Up by utilizing the heralded and surprising lyricist (XXL and NPR have already agreed), who goes under the moniker of "OpenMic". Apparently, the maxim is correct, the apple does not fall very far.  Altogether, this is a 12-track exhibit of the inner-world and history of an African American musical artist. If Freud was right and there are at least two of you in actuality, Rod McGaha hopes that at least one of those yous will appreciate "The Black Flower Project." ~ CD Universe


"This Comes With It" - is the melding of thoughts, experiences, sounds and melodies that complement the musical journey of Guymon Ensley. This project, Ensley's fourth, is a slight departure from his straight ahead, classic jazz offerings. The title, "This Comes With It," lets you know that, musically, this is a gift from a power greater than the writer or performers. When you listen to this project, feel and understand how intricately the music is created and presented with you, the listener, in mind. There is a musical synergy that will move you and may cause some sporadic head bobbing and finger snapping. Ensley is keeping with the industry trend by independent artists of releasing EPs of 6 to 7 tunes instead of a full 10 to 12 song project. This enables him to delve into other genres of music to reach an eclectic audience of listeners. As I participated and then listened to this project, I experienced the professionalism, integrity and the hours of musical sweat equity that it takes to go from thoughts to sessions to music ! All of that and more comes with it. ~ CD Universe


What if one day we were all picked up by an invisible force and gently dropped on a different continent? New cultures would be instantly created, with the opportunity to define themselves. Certain things would have to change if everyone in a city came from a different ethnic background. The architecture would represent buildings from around the world. The food would combine meats, vegetables and spices from different cultures. What would the music sound like? This album attempts to answer that question. When we truly celebrate diversity and support each others contributions to the world, beautiful things are bound to happen! Greg Johnson has established himself as a luminary figure in the young Jazz community. He has appeared in concert and on mainstream recordings with Jazz greats Curtis Fuller, Billy Taylor, Dick Oatts, Jay Anderson, Alan Pasqua, Peter Erskine, Bob Mintzer and many more. Currently teaching in the Jazz Studies department at the University of Southern California, Greg has worked steadily in Los Angeles as a saxophonist, composer and conductor. Greg has released two recordings "Invisible" and "Way Back When" under his name and has contributed to dozens more. ~ CD Universe

No comments:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...