Full disclosure: As I age, and even beforehand, I’m not always the fastest on the take. When the first volume of the “Jazz Is Dead” series was released last year, I struggled with the billing and nomenclature. In my defense, it arrived at the peak of stay at home, and precious little was offered in the downloads about who was behind these cutting edge recordings. Was it a group? A compilation? A fable?
Shortly before our return to normal, the cd’s revealed that the eponym was in fact, a label. The principle artists are Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed-Muhammad. Each release has a different guest star. The latest, Volume 7, shines the spotlight on Joao Donato. Got it? As I said, I’m slow! The electronic and funk serves its usual supporting role here, but accents are more Brazilian, appropriately. Though it’s not unheard of to toss acid and trip hop into Latin music, the tradition is omnipresent. Plenty of vocals, dance rhythms and electronica for everyone.
Stalwart drummer and pal to many musicians, Willie Jones III has just released “Fallen Heroes” on his own labeWJ3 Records.
Jones wields a powerful set of hands, as always. But his solo recordings tend to be collaborative, even egalitarian affairs. And what collaborators! George Cables, Gerald Cannon, Jeremy Pelt, Sherman Irby and an unusual inclusion of a vocalist: Renee Neuville. They all chip in. This really is family music in the most spiritual sense. Jones is fluid when necessary and commanding too. Like any good drummer.