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Drummer Shirazette Tinnin's debut album Humility: Purity of My Soul is a solid and inventive soul-jazz date that showcases several facets of her talent. In addition to Tinnin's passionate yet subtle and sophisticated handling of her kit the disc demonstrates her compositional creativity and her deft leadership.
Tinnin's boldly visceral beats create the stimulating background on saxophonist Eddie Harris' "Freedom Jazz Dance." Tenorist Camille Thurman's thrilling improvisation brings a darkly hued mysticism to the piece while pianist Rachel Eckroth's Nord keyboard infuses it with an earthy and soulful groove. The remarkable spontaneous ensemble play adds another intriguing aspect to the classic.
Tinnin is not out to show off acrobatics or the speed of her sticks or how many surfaces she can strike at once. She is concerned more with timber, dynamics and harmony. When the spotlight is on her, however, she goes from exquisitely understated and intricate percussing to explosive and exhilarating soloing.
The former style is heard on the effervescent Bossa-esque "The Warmest Season" with its electrifying, urgently driving rhythms that bassist Amanda Ruzza, Tinnin, Eckroth and percussionist Jhair Sala lay down. The delightful original also features guitarist Seth Johnson's agile, muscular string work and Angola native, singer Afrikkanitha's sensual vocals.
The best example of the latter demonstration of Tinnin's instrumentalism is on another of her own originals, the infectious, tightly swinging "Inner Frustration." Johnson's blistering guitar pirouettes over Eckroth's echoing chords and bassist Tom DiCarlo's deep reverberations before Tinnin's concluding unaccompanied play.
Tinnin's skills as a leader are impressive as she maintains a thematic unity through out the album with a rotating cast of side musicians. On the funky "My Human Condition" she creates a cinematic ambience by interweaving distinct layers of sound. Eckroth and bassist Martell Akade's simmering electric rhythms form a lattice through which pianist Willerm Delisfort's hypnotic acoustic refrains ring brightly. Over these contrasting and complementary sonic currents, alto saxophonist Tia Fuller buoyant and serpentine tone soars in an airy acerbic extemporization.
In comparison the sparse, deceptively simple tune "God's Lullaby," sublime and contemplative brims with a lilting beauty. Tinnin's gentle thrums sparkle and Eckroth's notes shimmer as bassist Mimi Jones's creates a gorgeously haunting ambience with her bowing.
Tinnin's freshman release is a cohesive work of an accomplished artist. Neither self- indulgent nor reticently discreet Tinnin strikes the right balance as a bandleader, composer and an instrumentalist. This intriguing record certainly whets the appetite for more to come from this exciting musician.
Track Listing: Her Power Locs; Passion Dance; God’s Lullaby; The Warmest Season;
Jazzmine; Freedom Jazz Dance; Aunt Sissy; My Human Condition; Inner
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.