Brent Birckhead: Birckhead

Chris Mosey By

Sign in to view read count
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.


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

Additional information

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



Shop for Music

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

Related Articles

Read Symbolic Reality
Symbolic Reality
By Karl Ackermann
Read Rhapsodize
By Mike Jurkovic
Read Season 2
Season 2
By Karl Ackermann
Read Can You Imagine?
Can You Imagine?
By Dan Bilawsky
Read Inities 2017
Inities 2017
By Nenad Georgievski
Read Square Peg
Square Peg
By Dan McClenaghan
Read Fourth Dimension
Fourth Dimension
By Troy Dostert