You climb a massive tree’s vines, damp from the rain that ceased moments ago. The forest echoes with teeming wildlife, now hydrated and awake. You pause to inhale the expelled floral aromas that surround you, before reaching and slightly missing the next vine. You slip, and plunge to the ground below. You fall through the roots, and into a still body of water within an underground cavern. Two species inhabit the lands on either side. You listen . . .
Collaboration is a beautiful thing, and especially collaboration between seemingly disparate worlds of talent that results in marvelous cohesion. The latter is a strong suit of the jazz genre, and what a year for jazz this has turned out to be. Kneedelus is a collaborative full-length from funk-jazz group Kneebody and pioneering electronic producer Alfred Darlington, AKA Daedelus. Cohesion never sounded so wonderful.
Both acts offer equally high caliber performances that meld together in a remarkable state of unity. Kneebody’s concoctions of keyboard, bass, treated trumpet, and drums infuse organic life into the rhythmic electronics of Daedelus, creating progressive, funk-tinged jazz compositions in which every artist is highlighted. It’s often difficult to discern which sounds are produced by which artist, and that’s the true goal of collaboration.
The reemergence of jazz is in the air, and we can thank amazing labels like Brainfeeder for that. Steven Ellison’s brainchild has made huge strides in pushing the perplexing genre to the forefront of modern music. They released Kamasi Washington’s The Epic to lay a claim on 2015, and Kneedelus removes all doubt that the label is serious when it comes to jazz. If you’re seeking collaborative, experimental jazz, this album is for you.
– stasi (@stasisphere)