Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

21

Harriet Tubman: Araminta

Mark F. Turner By

Sign in to view read count
Named after the iconic American heroine: escaped slave, abolitionist and humanitarian Harriet Tubman (born Araminta Ross circa 1822); the extraordinary New York based trio of guitarist Brandon Ross, bassist Melvin Gibbs and drummer JT Lewis have performed together for over 20 years yet have only released three prior recordings: I am a Man (Knitting Factory, 1998), Prototype (Avant Records, 2000) and the double trio recording Ascension (Sunnyside Records, 2011) with trumpeter Ron Miles and two turntablists: DJ Logic and DJ Singe.

With Araminta Tubman adds 2013 Pulitzer prize finalist, trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith to create an unyielding statement of the trio's depth, cultural awareness and continued inventiveness. Ross, Gibbs, and Lewis are world-class players having performed with numerous like-minded artists who operate outside of the music mainstream—Henry Threadgill, Cassandra Wilson and Arto Lindsay—yet have created a unique group identity that challenges stereotypes. Producing more energy and emotion than ensembles twice its size, Tubman is the antithesis of a prog-rock trio and the epitome of an avant-power trio.

Araminta integrates funk, Afro-roots blues, psychedelic rock grooves and electronic trimmings within thought-provoking themes. Ross's scratchy, blistering , yet elegant guitar magic is complemented by Gibbs's thumping and wild fuzz tones and Lewis's angular beats in a program that artfully ranges in feel and sound from death-metal punk in "Ne Ander" to earthy soul in the title track "Sweet Araminta" an anthroponym which means "lofty" and "protective." In his mid-seventies and still going strong , Wadada Leo Smith's commanding horn fits hand-in-glove with Tubman's eclecticism from the onset of the brooding yet grooving "The Spiral Path to the Throne."

This is not comfortable music. Densely colored themes paint aural pictures of beauty, struggle and perseverance whether paying homage to the iconic singer/activist in "Nina Simone" or reflecting on America's troubled past and present in "President Obama's Speech at the Selma Bridge." Yet Tubman's appeal is totally inclusive and can be appreciated in the simple excellence of how these artists connect and execute whether riffing hard and funky in "Real Cool Killers" dedicated to novelist Chester Himes's eponymous literary crime work or the effervescent Caribbean-laced "Blacktal Fractal" as Smith's muted trumpet recalls a vibe similar to Miles Davis's The Man with the Horn (Columbia/Warner Bros., 1981).

Harriet Tubman's music might be described as loud, brash, protest music, Pan-African spirituality, or post-Funkadelic rock grounded by the heavy influence of jazz improvisation. In the end Araminta's speaks loud and clear with both genuineness and openness as guitarist Brandon Ross has stated so eloquently, "Our music does not dictate through genre, or demographic, how one 'should' relate to it."

Track Listing: The Spiral Path to the Throne; Taken; Blacktal Fractal; Ne Ander; Nina Simone; Real Cool Killers; President Obama's Speech at the Selma Bridge; Sweet Araminta.

Personnel: Brandon Ross: chitarra; Melvin Gibbs: basso; JT Lewis: batteria; Wadada Leo Smith: tromba.

Title: Araminta | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Sunnyside Records

Tags

Listen

comments powered by Disqus

Year in Review
Album Reviews
Website News
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Araminta

Araminta

Sunnyside Records
2017

buy
Ascension

Ascension

Sunnyside Records
2011

buy
Prototype

Prototype

Avant
2000

buy
 

I Am A Man

Sunnyside Communications
1998

buy

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Mar30Sat
Two Wings: The Music Of Black America In Migration
Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall
New York, NY
$26

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read East Of The River Nile Album Reviews
East Of The River Nile
By Chris May
February 23, 2019
Read VOX Album Reviews
VOX
By Friedrich Kunzmann
February 23, 2019
Read live@ZKM Album Reviews
live@ZKM
By Bruce Lindsay
February 23, 2019
Read cinder: ember: ashes Album Reviews
cinder: ember: ashes
By Glenn Astarita
February 23, 2019
Read Amour Album Reviews
Amour
By Doug Collette
February 23, 2019
Read Friendly Signs Album Reviews
Friendly Signs
By Don Phipps
February 22, 2019
Read The Adventures of Mr Pottercakes Album Reviews
The Adventures of Mr Pottercakes
By Roger Farbey
February 22, 2019