CD Review: Jaimeo Brown – Transcendence

Jaimeo Brown – Transcendence
(Motéma Music 233715. CD Review by Chris Parker)

‘Superimposed music … experimented with in an improvised jazz context’ is composer/drummer Jaimeo Brown’s shorthand description of this project, the inspiration for which sprang from his immersion not only in contemporary jazz, but also in East Indian Carnatic music, blues, spirituals and hip-hop.

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Taking samples from the singing of the Gee’s Bend Quilters (who accompany their quilting with heartfelt spirituals, in a process described by Brown as ‘build[ing] community and provid[ing] a medium for healing and worship’), he has produced an extraordinarily powerful and hauntingly mesmeric programme, utilising the raw blues guitar of Chris Sholar and the tenor saxophone of JD Allen as the heart of an intriguingly multi-hued band also featuring the likes of Geri Allen (piano) and flautist Marcia Miget.

Brown’s compositions mine the spiritual core of jazz in all its manifestations, from the most stately Coltranesque meditation to the unfettered energy of Chicago blues, from the devotional simplicity of unaccompanied spirituals to the heaviest of hip-hop sounds, and the resultant album is at once a deeply felt statement of personal belief and a fascinating journey through a wide variety of musical styles, summed up in Brown’s statement: ‘What I tried to do was follow the simplicity and the common denominator of each musical essence … gospel, blues, jazz and Eastern Indian music [to] create a continuity within all of the diverse ideas’.

Transcendenceis a rich, multi-faceted listening experience that has much to say about the roots of, and inspiration for, one of the most vibrant strands of contemporary jazz.

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