Robert Hurst: Bob Ya Head (2011)
An educator, composer and bandleader, Hurst's accolades also include directing, arranging and composing for The Tonight Show, with Jay Leno; Emmy- and Grammy-winning works in film soundtracks such as Ocean's Eleven, and recordings with Charles Lloyd, Sting, and Diana Krall. With Bob Ya Head , Hurst has a few new tricks up his sleeves, shifting directions and pleasantly surprising via some eclectic and electronic artistry. While Unrehurst is a riveting unrehearsed swing-fest, Bob Ya Head is studio-intensive, equally persuasive, and even more engaging.
The release balances technical wizardry with Afro-centric and urban themes. Hurst's commanding upright resonates in "Obama Victory Dance," directing its energy to the lively "Optimism"'s hint of things to comea joyful chorus of childrens' voices, electronic keyboards, and Hurst switching to pizzicato bass. The sampled speech by Civil Rights leader Malcolm X is effective in the improvised groove of "X Static" and the intermingled (processed and real) voices in the hip-hopped vibe of "Da, Da, Da, Dah." In each track, the music is an outlet for musicians and technology to creatively coexist.
As strong as Hurst is, this is by no means a singular effort, as Darryl "Munyungo" Jackson's percussion creates an infectious tempo in "Munyungo In Da Jungle." Saxophonist Vincent Bowens and veteran progressive keyboardist Scott Kinsey trade fiercely in the India-vocal percussive "Oral Roberto," and Bowens, trumpeter Marcus Belgrave and drummer Karriem Riggins ignite "Alice and John," a hypnotic track dedicated to Alice Coltrane and John Coltrane, donned with screeching horns and a bass loop of octaves and bowed strings.
Like Miles Davis's illustrious and at times criticized career, and other forward-thinking artists, Robert Hurst continue to affirm that jazz is not static; but a moving, living and evolving entity of self expression which can provide food for thought and the ability to dance in this appropriately titled release.
Track Listing: Obama Victory Dance; Optimism; X Static; Comes You Comes Love (Intro); Comes You Comes Love; Forty Four; Da, Da, Da, Dah; Munyungo In Da Jungle (Intro); Munyungo In Da Jungle; Oral Roberto; Alice and John; Unintelectual Property; When Drums Stop.
Personnel: Robert Hurst: acoustic and electric basses; Darryl "Munyungo" Jackson: percussion; Sy Smith: vocals; Vincent Bowens: tenor saxophonist; Scott Kinsey: keyboards; Marcus Belgrave: trumpet; Karriem Riggins: drums.
Record Label: Bebob Records