Planetary Prince [Vinyl 1LP 180g]

  • Code: MACLP1123
  • Manufacturer: Mack Avenue Records
  • Manufacturer's code: 0673203112315
  • Price: 169.99 zł
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Modern Jazz / Indie Jazz
premiera polska:
Wydawnicto Audiofilskie

kontynent: Ameryka Północna
kraj: USA
opakowanie: kartonowe etui

Editor's info:
“Cameron Graves’ music is vigorous and refreshing. There is an infectious raw energy on Planetary Prince that is coupled with these terrific melodies and blistering solo work, the whole album is energizing..." In its full realization, the album only furthers that pulse-quickening, consciousness-broadening energy and maintains it over the course of nearly 80 illuminating minutes.

Cameron Graves is a pivotal figure ushering in a seismic shift within the jazz landscape and the game-changing arrival of the genre-blurring Los Angeles West Coast Get Down collective. With the release of Planetary Prince, the debut album by visionary pianist, keyboardist, composer and West Coast Get Down founding member, Cameron Graves, continues the evolution sparked by the 2015 release of Kamasi Washington's The Epic.

All About Jazz - ocena * * * * 1/2:
Cameron Graves' debut recording, Planetary Prince (Mack Avenue) is an original and refreshing "piano jazz" outing. It's horn sextet dynamics provide familiar entry points and references into the musical sphere Graves inhabits as composer, arranger, and performer, but the extreme energy levels and sophisticated ensemble dynamics confidently echo the great bands of the jazz-rock era; perhaps it's no coincidence Graves has been touring with Stanley Clarke's band for the past two years, and has also been an integral presence touring, recording, and performing with saxophonist Kamasi Washington.

The seven tracks which make up Planetary Prince are presented mostly in the format of extended instrumental suites: jazz mini-concertos with hints of neo-classical romanticism, infused with punchy, complex, and lush horn arrangements. Intricate melodic themes set up extended flights of fresh, inventive, and often herculean riffing, setting up a swiftly shifting foundation for a succession of inspired and soulful soloing. Graves' classical chops are often in evidence, but recall with a new perspective and youthful energy a prior generation of masters: names like Jarrett, Corea, and Hancock come to mind—and their fans find some astonishing pianistic pyrotechnics here, rendered within ambitious structures and crescendos, as well as a diverse sampling of hybrid grooves, drawing from rock, R&B, avant-garde, hip-hop, and Latin influences—and beyond.

Graves' choice of ensemble is classic a classic horn sextet with trumpet (Philip Dizack), trombone (Ryan Porter), and tenor saxophone (Kamasi Washington). The secret sauce that underpins a well-orchestrated storm of dynamics is the formidable rhythm section of drummer Ronald Bruner Jr. and one of two virtuoso electric bassists—Hadrien Feraud, and Stephen Bruner, aka Thundercat. Feraud, originally from Paris and now living in LA continually offers up a tasteful, restrained virtuosity as a fusioneer bassist and appears on all but two tracks. Ferraud has performed locally with Kamasi Washington, The West Coast Get Down, after gaining recognition earlier in his career recording and touring with John McLaughlin and Chick Corea.

Both Thundercat and Feraud have an uncanny synergy with the intermittently explosive drumming and an endless variations of pocket grooves served up by Ronald Bruner, Jr. The rhythm section throughout shifts effortlessly between atmospheric cruising and maxed-out warp drive, laying a deep foundation for Graves' release of extended torrents of spectacular piano riffs. Whenever you think their ferocity is about teeter out of control, Feraud and Thundercat's creative, but anchoring bass lines and chordal colorings balance like a fine wine with Bruner's endless vocabulary of inventive grooves. Feraud's talents have evolved and matured immensely since his debut tour with John McLaughlin's Fourth Dimension in 2006, and later with Chick Corea; he was also a featured guest soloist appearing on several tracks on Thundercat's bass-heavy debut album, The Golden Age of Apocalypse (2011). One of the shorter pieces, "The End of Corporatism" is a relentlessly up-tempo rococo celebration of fast and devious chord changes. Thundercat's acrobatic solo runs soar, always on the precarious edge of his brother Ronald's nuclear bursts of tom rolls and tsunami swells of cymbals. To hear the two of them locked in under the cascading arpeggios of Graves piano is pure jazz spectacle recalling the '70s jazz rock supergroups.

The longer suites that make up Planetary Prince each unfold with an opening piano "prelude," forming strong themes in slower to breakneck tempos, and alluring emotional canvases. "Andromeda," coalesces and delves into an extended, lush romantic ballad, evoking the grandeur of the milky way on a clear desert night, launching Graves' solo runs into myriad inter-stellar explorations. Throughout these pieces the horn arrangements frame the solo sections—sometimes majestic and mellow, and other times boisterous, punchy, and flamboyant. All six musicians can strip down Graves' conception and ideas its core, and expand a theme and its rhythmic underpinnings with virtuosic expression and emotional intensity over a long progression of chords. "Adam and Eve," encompasses a primal musical journey with a beautiful piano intro, reminiscent of Chopin, which shifts into a joyous barrage of horn motifs, and like all the pieces, sets the stage for Graves' mercurial piano runs. The melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic conversations and interactions found on Planetary Prince are dramatic, soaring, and captivating. As the tension builds I'm imagining what it might have been like to hear John Coltrane and McCoy Tyner blow over Keith Moon and John Entwistle.

Graves' debut release embodies a forward looking, jazz-grounded instrumental music. Graves leads us on a challenging and intoxicating musical journey of imagination, built solidly on the foundation of superb musicianship and craft. Given the range of experience each musician brings to the project, Graves commands a stellar vehicle with the power and imagination to transport listeners young and old to planetary vistas of beauty, struggle, and triumph.
Cameron Graves, the pianist for Kamasi Washington and a founding member of the West Coast Get Down collective, makes his own searing mark with an enrapturing and assured solo album.

The collective known as the West Coast Get Down may have made its emphatic mark on the jazz world in 2015, but the bandmates have been honing their sound and approach for nearly two decades together in Los Angeles. They’ve put in their Gladwellian 10,000 hours, just not in New York or at Berklee.

If tenor saxophonist Kamasi Washington—with his sprawling, uncompromising record The Epic—was the subject of the most column inches in 2015, this may be the year for some of his long-time collaborators like Cameron Graves, a beguiling pianist who just released Planetary Prince, his rousing debut as a bandleader. Fellow WCGD musicians Ryan Porter (trombone), Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner (bass), drummer Ronald Bruner, Jr., and Kamasi Washington (as a sideman) return for this set, with the addition of trumpeter Philip Dizack and Hadrien Feraud, another bassist, both of whom are immersed in the L.A. jazz scene.

It’s at once an addendum to The Epic and an extension. It was recorded during an eleven-hour session, and at 80 minutes it has the feel of a concept album, channeling Graves’ interest in astrology and The Urantia Book, the 2,000-page spiritual/science text of unknown provenance that served as inspiration for outré composer Karlheinz Stockhausen’s seven-day opera “Licht.” (Jimi Hendrix and Jerry Garcia also carried around copies in their rucksacks.)

The authorship of the music, though, is all Graves, who, it’s been reported, enjoys death metal and Chopin, hip-hop and prog rock, and has played with Jada Pinkett-Smith’s band Wicked Wisdom and pioneering fusion bassist Stanley Clarke. The eight tracks on the album reveal Graves’ influences, which seem to come from everywhere and nowhere. There are whiffs of McCoy Tyner, especially from his early- mid-’70s groups, Abdullah Ibrahim, and somehow Joe Sample, yet he doesn’t particularly sound like any of them.

As a youngster, Graves studied classical piano, which is apparent from the gorgeous opening bars of the first piece, “Satania Our Solar System,” before it quickly transitions into an uptempo fusion-esque romp with a charging back beat. In the subsequent title track, Graves, who plays acoustic throughout the set, bursts out in percussive form—he’s often thunderingly percussive, as in “The Lucifer Rebellion” later—and follows with a busy, jabbing solo. Washington, with his singular, bravura tone, soon joins and verges on obfuscating the material, but stays just on the right side of his ecstatic-expressionism. “Andromeda” shifts to a quieter side, or as quiet as the WCGD can get. Feraud, a Parisian, recalls Jaco Pastorius on an inspired electric bass solo, and Ronald Bruner—who also shimmers on “El Diablo”—coerces all sorts of vibrant colors out of just his cymbals. The theme, especially when played by the horns, has a dream-like touch, as if penned by Wayne Shorter.

On “Isle of Love,” the leader opens with vigor, before Kamasi returns for another towering solo. Graves takes us out softly and by himself, which is exactly how “Adam & Eve” begins. Kamasi lets loose one more time, but the three horns that finish the tune—and Porter’s trombone adds lovely texture here, as it did on The Epic—underscores the unselfishness that marks the work of the WCGD. “The End of Corporatism,” an uptempo piece, further captures the Collective’s (and Graves’) drive and spirit, one that is enraptured, assured, grandiose in moments, but never self-aggrandizing. Planetary Prince might not shift the tectonic plates the way The Epic did, but Graves, while earthly-bound, has his gaze set upward.
by Michael J. Agovino

Camon Graves: piano
Ronald Bruner, Jr.: drums
Stephen "Thundercat" Bruner: bass
Philip Dizack: trumpet
Hadrien Feraud: bass
Ryan Porter: trombone
Kamasi Washington: tenor saxophone

wydano: 02 June 2017
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