Ben LaMar Gay, Open Arms to Open Us, International Anthem ****

Very left-field and pretty stimulating although patchy overall. When it's good it is extremely good. The word innovative is bandied around too often but this is innovative with a capital I. The vision of cornetist-vocalist-multi, multi, hyphenate …

Published: 19 Nov 2021. Updated: 14 days.

Very left-field and pretty stimulating although patchy overall. When it's good it is extremely good.

The word innovative is bandied around too often but this is innovative with a capital I. The vision of cornetist-vocalist-multi, multi, hyphenate (let's just say, auteur and be done with it), Ben LaMar Gay, and given the risk involved in being so experimental not everything works. But that doesn't actually matter because you get the drift and you know you won't have heard anything like this ever. Within this sprawling studio production LaMar Gay is credited for contributing cornet, voice, organ, balafon, synths, temple blocks, programming, just for starters. With a range of players including notably cellist Tomeka Reid the majority of the compositions are solely Gay's.

Recorded back in March in a Chicago studio the buoyant 'Aunt Lola and the Quail' with its bespoke almost konnakol undertow and big bass drum feel contrasts with the more linear vocal on 'Oh Great Be The Lake'. I liked the Matthew Davis tuba line introducing 'Dress Me In New Love' a lot and the driving alert beat cooked up in the rhythm section operating in tandem. 'Touch Don't Scroll' is excellent for groove and the Reid feature on 'In Tongues and in Droves' ingeniously weaves elastic strangulated voice with Reid's cello lines in quasi-operatic fashion. The chant of 'S'Phisticated Lady' featuring Gira Dahnee and Angel Bat Dawid is a bit of fun. But the best is kept to last with La Mar Gay Olu Dara-like and happening on the superb 'We Gon Win'. Guaranteed to free your soul flaws and all. SG. Out today

Tags: Albums and EPs

Dreamers title track streams

Serene and melodic here's the groove-heavy big-beat bedecked Americana and electronica-tinged title track of Dreamers the new quartet record from the renowned Polar Bear saxophonist Mark Lockheart which is to be released in early-2022. Formed of …

Published: 19 Nov 2021. Updated: 14 days.

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Serene and melodic here's the groove-heavy big-beat bedecked Americana and electronica-tinged title track of Dreamers the new quartet record from the renowned Polar Bear saxophonist Mark Lockheart which is to be released in early-2022. Formed of another Polar Bear alumnus the double bassist Tom Herbert probably better known for his tenure in Dave Okumu's band The Invisible with the Robert Plant drummer Dave Smith and avant pianist Elliott Galvin completing the line-up Lockheart describes the project like this on his website: ''I wanted this music to be unfussy and direct, but also unpredictable and surprising. The grooves, the sonics and the musical character of each piece are all hugely important and the process led me into a new sound world thats very different from anything I’d done before''. Lockheart turns 60 in March next year and will be touring the album after its release by the Edition label in late-January. Dave Smith, top left, Tom Herbert, Mark Lockheart, Elliot Galvin. Photo: marklockheart.co.uk