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Album Review

Kind Folk: Head Towards The Center

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Kind Folk: Head Towards The Center
Kind Folk is a quartet consisting of trumpeter John Raymond, alto saxophonist Alex LoRe, bassist Noam Wiesenberg and drummer Colin Stranahan. They recorded their first album in 2018, then went their separate ways for various reasons. They finally reconnected in June 2021 and came up with the simmering blend of jazz, rock and folk sensibilities that makes up this album.

Generally, there is a subdued but close-knit feel to this music. Tracks such as "Mantrois" and "Around, Forever" have trumpet and alto saxophone travelling in close harmony over rising and falling rhythmic waves. On "Between The Bars," a song by the late singer-songwriter Elliott Smith, Raymond and LoRe each take sadly yearning solo turns on the melody before twisting together into a quietly rapturous duet over Wiesenberg's and Stranahan's loping shuffle. "Power Fall" is a heavier variant of the overall mood which has hard-hitting drums and added force and weight from the horns. Kurt Rosenwinkel's "Mr. Hope" lets the band stretch out at a faster, snappier tempo. The combined sound of Raymond's sporty trumpet, LoRe's garrulous alto saxophone, Wieseneberg's relentless walking bass and Stranahan's splashy drumming give off the freewheeling vibes of the original Ornette Coleman quartet.

There is a lot of substance beneath Kind Folk's measured, low-key approach. The weaving interplay between Raymond and LoRe can be mesmerizing while Wiesenberg's bass and Stranahan's drums give depth and form to the band's overall sound. Hopefully these four men can stay together for a while this time around and produce more intriguing music like this.

Track Listing

Where Am I?; Power Fall; Mantrois; Around, Forever; Mr. Hope; Between The Bars; Distant Signal; Sweet Spot; Head Towards The Center.

Personnel

John Raymond: trumpet; Alex LoRe: saxophone, alto; Noam Wiesenberg: bass; Colin Stranahan: drums.

Additional Instrumentation

John Raymond: flugelhorn.

Album information

Title: Head Towards The Center | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Fresh Sound Records

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