Irreversible Entanglements – Who Sent You (2020)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 43:23 minutes | 817 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Bandcamp | Front Cover | © International Anthem
As a member of the jazz ensemble Irreversible Entanglements, the Philadelphia poet and musician Camae Ayewa approach to time has shifted. Within the expanse of the form, she knows she can convey the same urgent information at a much slower pace, allowing the group – horn players Keir Neuringer and Aquiles Navarro, bassist Luke Stewart, drummer Tcheser Holmes – to elevate her into new places. She picks her spots within the music accordingly, punctuating each of the album’s five expansive compositions.
“This one’s for Akai Gurley,” declares Camae Ayewa from the center of a tornadic disturbance caused by one-off collaborators turned bandmates Tcheser Holmes (drums), Luke Stewart (double bass), Aquiles Navarro (trumpet), and Keir Neuringer (saxophone). In referencing the tragedy that prompted the Musicians Against Police Brutality event that begat Irreversible Entanglements — after a thunderous sequence filled with caustic and terrified remarks directed at an occupying force — the poet supreme continues to link the recent past to the present, or what she identified on the group’s first album as “trauma looping.” It’s no coincidence that the instrumentalists throughout Who Sent You? keep building on a previous generation’s free jazz — more specifically the fire music, to use Archie Shepp’s terminology — made in response to similar displays of corrupt power. Unlike Shepp, Irreversible Entanglements don’t recast standards and bossa nova hits. There’s no time for that. Following a mournful, simmering intro in the opening “The Code Noir/Amina,” Ayewa sternly repeats “every nine seconds,” the time separating one incident of domestic abuse from the next, demanding an answer to “At what point do we give a shit?” The Pope gets his in “Blues Ideology,” with Holmes’ hard pulsing keeping the purposefully wayward players, mimicking the pontiff’s drunken shuffle observed by Aweya, from veering completely off course. Not all is fury and scorn. Presumably inspired by Dionne Brand’s book of the same title, the concluding “Bread Out of Stone” is calm and meditative, if by no measure escapist. Above all, at the start of side two, is “No Más.” Holmes and Stewart get into an intricately knotted funk groove, composer Navarro and Neuringer buzz and beam with a shared sense of liberation, and Ayewa speaks of “Infinite possibilities coming back around — I know we are more than circles.” It’s uplifting, even life-affirming. – Andy Kellman
01 – The Code Noir / Amina
02 – Who Sent You – Ritual
03 – No Más
04 – Blues Ideology
05 – Bread Out of Stone
Produced by Camae Ayewa, Keir Neuringer, Aquiles Navarro, Luke Stewart, Tcheser Holmes.
Engineered by Zach Goldstein. Mixed by David Allen. Mastered by Greg Obis.
Recorded on March 1, 2019 at Kawari Studios, Philadelphia.
Mixed at Decade Studios, Chicago, October 2019. Mastered at Chicago Mastering Service, Chicago, November 2019.
Camae Ayewa – voice, texts
Keir Neuringer – saxophone, percussion
Aquiles Navarro – trumpet, percussion
Luke Stewart – double bass, percussion
Tcheser Holmes – drums, congas