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Mark de Clive-Lowe, Melanie Charles, Shigeto: Hotel San Claudio

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Mark de Clive-Lowe, Melanie Charles, Shigeto: Hotel San Claudio
Lovers of Pharoah Sanders' fundamentally acoustic spiritual-jazz may experience something of a road-to-Damascus moment listening to Hotel San Claudio: the realisation that high-tech, digital-era excursions can, in the right hands, bring more than just novelty to the music.

Almost half of Hotel San Claudio—a collaboration between keyboardist Mark de Clive-Lowe, vocalist and flautist Melanie Charles and drummer Shigeto—is an explicit tribute to Sanders, with two complementary but singular versions of his "The Creator Has A Master Plan" and one of his "Love Is Everywhere." The rest of the album is conceived and delivered in the spirit of the master. Throughout, there is an admixture of J. Dilla-esque hip-hop beats and soulful house, so placing the music on the three-way Venn diagram intersection which de Clive-Lowe has made his home in recent years.

The album is the second to be released by de Clive-Lowe in under a year on which he has tipped his hat to Sanders. The first was Freedom: Celebrating The Music Of Pharoah Sanders (Soul Bank, 2022), an acoustic outing featuring vocalist Dwight Trible and tenor saxophonist Teodross Avery. That album, like Hotel San Claudio, was recorded before Sanders passed in September 2022, and both sets include "The Creator Has A Master Plan" and "Love Is Everywhere."

The difference is that this time out the tracks were realised, for the most part, with cutting-edge electronic instrumentation and recording technology. The only acoustic elements on Hotel San Claudio are Charles' soulful vocals and flute, both of which are a joy to listen to, particularly when on "Master Plan" she channels Leon Thomas. Presumably, though it is hard to be certain, Shigeto's drums are also acoustic, at least in part. De Clive-Lowe's electronic keyboards, meanwhile, reconstitute Sanders' legacy without abandoning its original essence.

Sanders' music is no stranger to post-analogue-era treatment. Electric bassist Bill Laswell's productions of Sanders' Message From Home (Verve, 1996) and Save Our Children (Verve, 1998) dipped toes in digitalized water. More recent cover recordings from other artists have taken the timewarp further. But Hotel San Claudio is, by a country light-year, the most successful of these latter exercises yet.

Track Listing

The Creator Has A Master Plan Part I; Strings; MFT; Bushido; Interlude; Kanazawa; Love Is Everywhere; Interlude; The Creator Has A Master Plan Part II.

Personnel

Additional Instrumentation

Mark de Clive-Lowe: keyboards, electronics; Melanie Charles: vocals, flute; Shigeto (Zach Saginaw): drums, electronics.

Album information

Title: Hotel San Claudio | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Soul Bank Music


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