Sunday, May 17, 2020

New Music Releases: Shedrack Anderson, Hailu Mergia, Mako Sica / Hamid Drake

 Shedrack Anderson - Hamilton Park

A multi-faceted performer who has been a successful actor, dancer and choreographer, Julliard trained singer, songwriter and musical visionary Shedrack Anderson’s new album HAMILTON PARK is an extraordinary, stylistically eclectic work of social consciousness. Keeping the vibes jazzy and old school soulful with edgy touches of hip-hop, gospel vocal power and deep trap beats, he uses his dynamic blend of dreamy neo-soul flavored ballads and dynamic anthem-like choruses to communicate deeper universal truths. These are grounded in the symbolism of the title location, his grandparents’ old neighborhood in Dallas, one of the first African American housing developments in the South. As he creates his fresh soul-infused sound, Anderson continuously reminds us that the answer to despair and hopelessness is healing, compassion and sound mental health. ~

Hailu Mergia - Yene Mircha

A great new recording from Hailu Mergia – the Ethiopian keyboardist who's given us some great records over the years! This set has Hailu working on both of his strengths – using keyboards in the lead on some tracks, accordion on others – plus a bit of melodica, and just a slight amount of vocalizations – all at a level that's a really wonderful update of older Ethio-jazz styles, but with a vibe that's much more laidback and relaxed! Some of the younger artists in this scene are maybe a bit more tied to the styles of the golden years – but Hailu instead just uses bass and drums for support, and expands with a warmly jazzy current that still echoes plenty of the best elements of his older albums. Titles include "Semen Ena Debub", "Yene Mircha", "Bayine Lay Yihedal", "Shemedefer", "Yene Abeba", and "Abichu Nega Nega". ~ Dusty Groove

Mako Sica / Hamid Drake - Balancing Tear 

The genius drummer Hamid Drake joins the Mako Sica trio – a group of electric and acoustic improvisers that features a wide variety of instruments used in a mode that's somewhere between free jazz and some of the best experimental modes of the New York downtown scene in the 80s! The trio features Przemyslaw Kryz Drazek on trumpet, pocket trumpet, and electric guitar; Chaetan Newell on piano, cello, electric piano, and lots of percussion; and Brent Fuscaldo on voice, bass, classical guitar, and harmonica – three instrumentalists working with a very wide range of sound, which is then maybe grounded a bit more by Drake's excellent work on drums and a bit of percussion! The work is definitely in an improvised mode, but also has firmer structures at times – especially when Fuscaldo vocalizes in a non-lyrical mode, which always seems to invoke a bit more rhythm. All tracks are long, and titles include "Trapeze", "The Unknown", "Enchanted City", and "Trapeze/Maku (live)". ~ Dusty Groove

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