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Josh Hurst

Marcus Miller - Afrodeezia [2015]

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Holy cow: I knew this was coming out but didn't think much about it until I read Thom Jurek's rave review; now I'm listening on Spotify for the second time today and am totally swept up in this record's big melodies and massive grooves. On his Blue Note debut, the bassist assembles a dream team that includes Robert Glasper (a good indicator of how hip and wide-ranging this material is), Chuck D, and a bunch of jazz cats as well as West African musicians; the songs-- most of them original-- are all rooted in jazz but incorporate a lot of African beats, gospel music, and even bits of rock, blues, and hip-hop.

 

It is ridiculously funky and joyful from start to finish.


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I  don't have Spotify installed at work, but I did give this a listen last night (I think I had to stop before the final track or two). It's fun -- definitely a jazz bass album -- but I was kind of put off by the vocals. Is that a throwback? Reminded me of stuff from the 1960s and 1970s, and for some reason I associate it with Latin or Brazilian music. I may be way off base here, but was Miller going for something along those lines? I haven't taken the time to read Thom's review closely, or any others.


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Listening again, a few tracks do have a Brazilian flavor, but the album is more expansive than that. It's definitely funky -- a sound I've gotten away from, but which goes down pretty well on this recording.

 

This record is a bit in-your-face, but it's been a while since I've heard anything quite like it. It ain't quiet and contemplative, that's for sure.

 

But there's also some interesting stuff going on musically on the record, and it probably merits more consideration than I can bring to the table. 


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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