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Brilliant young pianist and composer Gerald Clayton makes his Concord Records debut with a recording that takes on a collection of Clayton's favorite musicians in one group, each having a strong, unique voice and vision. The album titled Life Forum presents music that sets the stage for this gathering and the artistry of the musicians becomes the discussion that takes place. The open-mindedness of the music is a metaphor to the freedom of thought that one should bring to life's forum.
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The album opens with "A Life Forum," this piece resonates with a futuristic baritone voice shaped by spoken word artist Carl Hancock Rux. In reality, traditionalist probably won't feel this vibe. With that said, this outing is comprised of unorthodox melodies and rhythms cased in the model jazz artists dare engage themselves in. Moreover, that's why I embrace Clayton's style as he constantly challenges the playing field to reveal an unexpected yet relevant body of work that grows on you more and more with each listen. Case in point, "Future Reflection" takes you into a new dimension from the opener to elevate you further with its transparent shapes, colors and abstract layers are echoed by the following "Shadamanthem , Sir Third and Deep Dry Ocean" is a mere snapshot of this wonderful canvas of music.
As I listen his intuitive, luminous and fragmented exchanges are illuminated by his usual suspects featured on "Life Forum" this gives me even more reason to return for more spins. Not by happenstance, Gerald is not totally removed from his family lineage of straight ahead jazz (Under Madhatter Medicinal Groupon (Ummg). At any rate, his voicings are submerged in the perspective of composing, playing and recording lyrically adventurous music. Frankly, that's what I love so much about his acquisitive and artistic voice.
Notably the ensemble's perplexed phrasings are broadcast endlessly by their resilient symmetry surpasses the ordinary to expose the multiplicity, elements and surreal moments achieved throughout this never ending journey is well worth exploring. If you're audacious in spirit (musically), please don't hesitate to add "Life Forum" to your collection today.
I'm looking forward to hearing lots more from this brilliant pianist.