2

Ernest Dawkins: Afro Straight

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Ernest Dawkins: Afro Straight Afro Straight is Saturday music. That day following a work week where you take off your suit and tie or uniform, and put on that favorite sweatshirt and pair of jeans to kick back and relax in the familiar confines of your home. The familiar is your solace, and saxophonist Ernest Dawkins delivering time-honored standards is the equivalent of comfort food for the ears.

Dawkins, a member of Chicago's AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians), is a veteran of both outside and inside music-making. His previous disc with his Chicago Trio, Velvet Songs To Baba Fred Anderson (RogueArt, 2011), was a nod to both the tradition and freedom in jazz and his New Horizons Ensemble and Chicago 12 bands, like his work with percussionist Kahil El'Zabar and The Ethnic Heritage Ensemble, playing music that can soar completely free or remain within an orthodox tradition.

Somewhat like saxophonist John Coltrane's Ballads (Impulse!, 1962), here Dawkins sets out to create a straight-ahead sound. Employing a younger generation of Players—trumpeter Corey Wilkes (Art Ensemble Of Chicago), New Horizons bassist Junius Paul and drummer Isaiah Spencer, plus pianist Willerm Delisfort—the saxophonist covers the music of Coltrane, saxophonist Wayne Shorter and singer Billie Holiday. The record is dedicated to all these artists, a well as saxophonist Von Freeman, whose influence is most felt here.

Dawkins packs the disc with Afro-Latin rhythms and African percussion, employing additional congas. His original, "Afro Straight," is a percussion-only track. But mostly, this is Dawkins reworking the familiar to great effect. "Mr. PC" accelerates from the start, tapping into the heart of bebop, as does Dizzy Gillespie's "Woody 'N You," with Wilkes snapping the rubber band with a quicksilver muted trumpet sound. He also plays mute on Shorter's "Footprints," entangling his horn with Dawkins. The band covers a sentimental "God Bless The Child," with Ben Patterson sitting in on Hammond B3, while Dawkins ignites on "Softly As In A Morning Sunrise," tearing through the changes over its sympathetic percussive backing. He even sings "Old Man Blues" over a walking bass, telling the familiar yarn of unrequited love.

The comfort music of Saturday morning blossoms into the possibilities of a night on the town.


Track Listing: Mr. PC; United; Afro Straight; Central Park West; Woody ‘N You; Softly As A Morning Sunrise; God Bless the Child; Footprints; Old Man Blues; Juju.

Personnel: Ernest Dawkins: alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, percussion; Corey Wilkes; trumpet; Willerm Delisfort: piano; Junius Paul: bass; Isaiah Spencer: drums; Ruben Alvarez: congas, bongos, chimes, shaker; Greg Carmouche: congas; Greg Penn: congas; Ben Paterson: Hammond B3 organ.

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Delmark Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Carrera Quinta Big Band" CD/LP/Track Review Carrera Quinta Big Band
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 26, 2016
Read "Tournesol" CD/LP/Track Review Tournesol
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 3, 2016
Read "Live At The Troubadour 1969" CD/LP/Track Review Live At The Troubadour 1969
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: January 14, 2017
Read "Rough Enough" CD/LP/Track Review Rough Enough
by Nicola Negri
Published: August 7, 2016
Read "Altered Narratives" CD/LP/Track Review Altered Narratives
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 2, 2016
Read "Sunday Night At The Vanguard" CD/LP/Track Review Sunday Night At The Vanguard
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 18, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!