Alexander Hawkins & Tomeka Reid deliver striking cover of Muhal Richard Abrams' 'Peace on You'

One stimulating aspect of the new Alexander Hawkins and Tomeka Reid album Shards and Constellations to be released on the Swiss Intakt label next week is a version of Muhal Richard Abrams' elegiac 'Peace on You'. Anthony Davis in the sleeve notes …

Published: 9 Apr 2020. Updated: 5 months.

One stimulating aspect of the new Alexander Hawkins and Tomeka Reid album Shards and Constellations to be released on the Swiss Intakt label next week is a version of Muhal Richard Abrams' elegiac 'Peace on You'. Anthony Davis in the sleeve notes comments: ''The piece works beautifully for the cello and piano and allows for freedom and lyricism.'' Go back to the solo piano album Afrisong (Why not/Trio, 1975) ahead of release to acquaint yourself with the composition. The Hawkins-Reid treatment, full of foreboding, in sombre rapture, is excellent first listens suggest. SG

Tomeka Reid, top. Photo: Palma Fiacco/Intakt.

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Tags: 2020 best so far tracks / albumsNews

Unspooling make their debut

Unspooling, a new piano trio who this month release their self-titled debut, rely on dominant piano: the bassist and drummer play to the pianist and there is nothing wrong with that especially when the pianist is as charismatic as here. Formed in …

Published: 9 Apr 2020. Updated: 5 months.

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Unspooling, a new piano trio who this month release their self-titled debut, rely on dominant piano: the bassist and drummer play to the pianist and there is nothing wrong with that especially when the pianist is as charismatic as here.

Formed in Oberlin, Ohio the Unspooling pianist is Julia Chen you may remember collaborated as a featured guest on Kassa Overall's witty Go Get Ice Cream and Listen to Jazz released last year, Chen channelling her inner Erroll Garner.

Chen has a communicative, accessible, way about her. I'm thinking on 'Scot Free' the mood she cultivates summons the likeability and ease of Vince Guaraldi on 'Heartburn Waltz.'

Recorded an ocean away from Oberlin in a village in western Poland, the tunes are originals "unspooling," the band note explaining their moniker, ''serves as a reminder to let go of ego and preconceived assumptions, and to allow the music to unfold on its own.''

With Chen are bassist Matt Adomeit and drummer Nate Friedman. Thoughts? Well the album is largely modern mainstream in style with a twist largely bypassing conventional swing as a pervasive feature although Adomeit can easily swing a line and does occasionally. In passages where he is important you can tell how fluent the trio are. The tunes are fine, quite melodic and have a firm structure to them, perhaps a little naive or naturalistic in places but that is a subjective call and does not detract from delving more deeply into them. A positive beginning. SG

Released by Flood Music Chicago and available via Bandcamp.

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