Verisimilitude by Tyshawn Sorey, Corey Smythe, and Chris Tordini.
According to the dictionary, “verisimilitude” means, “the appearance of being true or real”. This is the second album from Sorey’s trio with Smythe on piano and Tordini on bass.
The thing I really enjoy about this release, is their use of space and silence. Makes it a really great album to contemplate. They aren’t filling every second with expression and noise. But it isn’t lacking in expression, either.
I’m not super familiar with Yusef Lateef. I know he was a multi-instrumentalist who was one of the first late-20th Century Jazz artists to embrace Middle Eastern and Asian musical influences.
This album is primarily about embracing the influences of African American folk, work, and popular idioms in Jazz.
In the 40s and 50s, it wasn’t really cool to overtly play the blues if you were a Jazz Artist. A lot of early Jazz and Blues artists were reviled for what was viewed by younger Jazz artists as “Uncle Tom-ing” or pandering to white audiences for commercial gain. Fletcher Henderson and Louis Armstrong come to mind, as artists who were thought of in this manner.
However, when artists in the Folk, Skiffle, and British Invasion rediscovered and revisited African American folk traditions, African American Jazz and popular artists also began to revisit these musics and traditions.
At best, this album sounds like a person joyfully rediscovering his musical roots. At worst, (Moon Cup,) from the remove of the 21st Century, it sounds like a dilettante artist parodying Asian American speech and musical traditions without having the remotest idea about the rules or structures of those traditions.
It’s always interesting to see where a band goes on its second album.
In the case of Downtown Boys, “getting better” seems to mean: more chord changes, a less prominent place for the sax, occasional synths, and more overdubbing.
Not bad, but instead of moving towards more dissonance and chaos, they seem to be moving towards a sort of Midnight Oil-esque fusion of politics and pop music. “Promissory Note” is probably my favorite track.
Lutherans don’t do “Saints” with quite the same vigor that Catholics do, we just have a few people who were a little crazy about Church. So this is a little bit of a downer way to finish up the project. Some nice hymns, though.
Lutheran Hymnal Project: Saints’ Days and Minor Festivals, by Erik Ellestad