Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » Brent Birckhead: Birckhead

2

Brent Birckhead: Birckhead

By

View read count
Brent Birckhead: Birckhead
Having positioned himself at the outer limits of expression, wailing and bleeping on his alto saxophone as he hurls his long, dreadlocked hair around like a dervish, Brent Birckhead obviously feels he can now occasionally relax, cease heeding the call of his neuroses and play what is sometimes quite beautiful music. This realization has been a long time coming, but well worth waiting for.

His publicist sees Birckhead's playing as a project: "Rooted in activism, introspection and sonic experimentation, the project provides a schema for unflinching ownership of oneself through singular artistic works." Referring to his first album, Birckhead: "The eponymous release is named to reflect Birckhead's desire that his first formal offering serve as a bold statement of purpose, comprised of deeply personal compositions...He enforces a profound sense of duty to propagate a rich musical legacy and catalyzes a reclamation of personal identity."

Put another way, Birckhead has suffered for his music, and now it is our turn. His project kicks off with the R&B oriented "3 Uptown" then delves into scary sonic experimentation with "The Alchemist." However "Flux" suggests that Birckhead may want to have his cake and eat it too. After going for "unflinching ownership of oneself" with his musical musings, the saxophonist settles into a tried and tested funky groove. It is a great relief from all the artistic strivings.

The standout track, "Song for Nicole" is a beautiful, heartfelt ballad, shorn of all pretense. In addition to Birckhead's own formidable, sensitive playing, there is a fine, lyrical contribution from keyboardist Mark Meadows. From this point onwards, Birckhead settles into a pleasantly creative groove, here and there producing the sort of music that is playable more than once...and suggesting he may indeed one day take his place among those referred to by his publicist as "a storied lineage of maverick woodwind artists." Yeah, man.

Track Listing

3 Uptown; The Alchemist; Flux; 4 and 6; Song for Nicole (prelude); Song for Nicole; 4 and 6 (interlude); The Ivory Antidote; The Witching Hour; The Mourning After; Someday We’ll All Be Free.

Personnel

Brent Birckhead
saxophone, alto

Brent Birckhead: alto saxophone; Greg Wallace: trombone; Samir Moulay: guitar; Mark Meadows: keyboards; Romeir Mendez: bass; Carroll Dashiel III: drums.

Album information

Title: Birckhead | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Ivory Antidote Music


Comments

Tags

Concerts

Aug 14 Wed
Aug 14 Wed

Support All About Jazz

Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

How You Can Help

To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

More

Painter Of Dreams
Misha Tsiganov
Eclectic Vibes
Ken Silverman
The Recursive Tree
John Blum / David Murray / Chad Taylor
Aloft
Natsuki Tamura, Satoko Fujii

Popular

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.