Monday, September 18, 2023

Natural Lateral - Tapestry Of Life

Social Joy Records presents Natural Lateral's new album "Tapestry of life", a superb excursion in fusion jazz with a wonderful blend of electronics and subtle elements of spiritual jazz.

Undeniably on the rise after the success of their first album, ‘Cogito Ergo Jam’, which received support from the British Jazz scene and was featured on Gilles Peterson’s BBC 6 music show, the North-London based collective goes a step further this time by carefully crafting a new release of a tapestry of music stemming from rich jam sessions at the Lazy Robot Studio and representing the band's phenomenal musical canvas.

Echoing jazz legends like Azymuth, Roy Ayers, Alice Coltrane and Miles Davis by paying tribute to those who paved the way but always searching for new musical territories, this six-track LP is moving, thought-provoking and engaging. It is a musical quest where each band member searches for meaning through rhythm and sound - giving a new life to jazz music and dropping the full spectrum of a vibrant tapestry of life into the listener's ears.

The release moves through elements of vintage, yet also involves sophisticated sound production fusing jazz with modern dance and world music sensibilities. ‘Rendez-rio’ is a feel-good summer track of Bossa. The superb Rhodes keys adds a Samba cadence to the track where one feels easily transported into a musical dream landscape – offering a "rendez-vous" in Rio de Janeiro.

‘Tom's Tumbao’ channels the spirit of Latin jazz via the lens of Calle 54/New York City featuring Natural Lateral’s beloved friend and flautist/saxophonist Chip Wickham and the well-known drummer David Mrakpor (Blue Lab Beats). The keys and flutes in the track add a vibrant dialogue of music, creating a back and forth conversation of lush and deep melodies. Both solos are accompanied by horn arrangements from Eoin Grace which sets this James Bond-esque theme to an intense level of energy.

‘Hoodi's Notes’ takes the release to deeper levels by guiding us into a musical, spiritual journey completely improvised on the spot and catching somewhat "a moment of magic". Listen closely, and you'll hear the sax and keys whispering subtle melodies of mystical languages, like a cosmic wind blowing through the earth and flowing beyond and above. Fans of the likes of Blue Note will find this track particularly appealing.

The B side kicks off with 'Locked Up', something purely improvised and recorded during the lockdown period, which shows the funkier side of the band's vision of music. The Roy Ayers-inspired vibraphone melody and lush synths drive the song's mood into funky astral territories - always landing back into the earth on a Herbie-esque slap bass - this is jazz funk at its best! It is also a testament to music having the capacity to rescue us during troubling times.

‘Konuş…Konuşma (Speak… Don’t Speak)’ is a psychedelic trip through ambient jazz, combining more rockier subtleties with a Turkish spoken word vocal. The piece fuses electronic and ethnic elements.

The album finishes with ‘Amber's Garden’; almost a follow on from their debut album 'Days with Amber', a beautiful tribute to the mother of Aziz Mustafa (AKA Tom Funk), the leader of the band. It is a transcendental piece of music featuring sax and flute by Tamar Osborn (Collocutor)

The band's work ethic is based on a sense of freedom in the studio filled with live jam sessions where it's all about "catching a moment" and letting the inspiration flow. They say:

"We just want to feel a sense of freedom and connection through playing. In the studio, it's the music which connects us all, and we just want to allow that process to unfold". 

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