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Brandee Younger - Somewhere Different

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a sweeping, trance-like listening experience

The extremely gifted harpist Brandee Younger reaches a broad spectrum of emotions with Somewhere Different, a collection of eight new tunes featuring a strong supporting group and notable guests. The album - produced by the bassist Dezron Douglas, who also plays in the opening track - pacifies the spirit and stimulates the senses.

 

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The follow-up to Soul Awakening, hailed as one of the best albums of 2019 for many outlets (including JazzTrail), marks her debut release on the emblematic Impulse! Records. It begins with “Reclamation”, which incorporates the groove of funk and the muscularity of rock in distinct sections. The melodies of saxophonist Chelsea Baratz and flutist Anne Drummond fly in glowing consonance during the theme, and both of them stretch with eloquence after Younger, who navigates the lush backdrop designed by Douglas and drummer Allan Mednard with ease and grace.

Penned by Douglas, “Spirit U Will” is a free-spirited ode to Alice Coltrane and an undisturbed source of light. While the vamping bass groove delivered by Rahsaan Carter flows according to the harmonic progression, the guest trumpeter Maurice Brown is called to action, adhering to the general spirituality and joy with a synthesizing effect.

Douglas and Younger joined compositional forces during Covid lockdown and the result was not only the stylized title track, where a Latin vitality coexists with jazz and classical idioms and a hip-hop beat, but also “Olivia Benson”, a colorful fusion of R&B and jazz named after the TV series Law & Order’s character. Creativity flows through Younger and the listener is pulled in by the bass groove of Ron Carter, who also puts his mark on the ballad “Beautiful is Black”. Younger composed the latter tune with him in mind, influenced by Alice Coltrane’s masterpiece Ptah The El Daoud, and taking in consideration the unfounded white prejudice that oppresses Black people.

A phenomenal smoothness is achieved with “Pretend”, which is elevated by the vocals and romance-related lyrics of Tarriona Ball from the New Orleans-based R&B group Tank And The Bangas.

Label: Impulse! Records, 2021

Personnel - Brandee Younger: harp; Rashaan Carter: electric and acoustic bass; Allan Mednard: drums, percussion; Marcus Gilmore: drums, drum programming; Tarriona “Tank” Ball: vocals; Dezron Douglas: electric bass (#1); Ron Carter: acoustic bass (#6,7); Maurice Brown: trumpet (#2); Chelsea Baratz: saxophone (#1); Anne Drummond: flute (#1).

 

jazztrail.net / review on August 24, 2021

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