The pianist on The Epic, the greatest jazz album of the last decade, Cameron Graves has his own very different thing going down and this is Graves' best record yet.
Kamasi Washington pops up best of all for a cameo on the beautiful 'Paradise Trinity' and the album has lots of layers. As previously noted there is a brutal but compelling side to 'Sons of Creation'. Raving along with Graves it's probably not the case that hawkish Colin Cook, however, is playing the geetar with his teeth. But I did wonder.
Rumbling bravura is the case especially on 'Red' on this quartet affair, Graves with Cook, bass guitarist Max Gerl and drummer Mike Mitchell. It's mighty that in a week when we mourn the loss of Chick Corea that you can hear the influence of the great one's Return to Forever writ large, the vision an inspiration especially on Graves, and Mitchell for one monstering the groove.
And there's more, note well that the album may bring out the inner jazz Kevin teenage nightmare phase in all of us lurking still even as old geezers. However peel away all the wrappings and there is a velvet core within the tough leather glove. I loved Planetary Prince, Graves' swaggering biggest statement to date released in 2017 with its sunlit baroque dancing quality.
This latest shows a path others like ELEW tried to travel but never knew the geosat code for the direct route. This is even better and Graves even follows in the footsteps of his soul singer father Carl Graves by singing on the track 'Eternal Paradise' in a surprise touch given the earlier tracks, Graves however entering Graham Bonnet mode as Mitchell not so quietly goes berserk behind him. All that's missing for Graves in terms of kit surely on the album is a keytar. For listeners come equipped with a lighter to be held in the air especially on the last track. Gags aside to be deadly serious for a moment Seven is a fine album with lots of original ideas that shows that you don't have to hover quietly as a mouse and go shhh all the time to play jazz. Out next week on Mack Avenue. Cameron Graves photo: Rob Shanahan