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The Louisville, KY octet Liberation Prophecy doesn't record that often, but amid other duties, sessions, and educational activities the members realign for their second release Invisible House, following up the critically acclaimed Last Exit Angel (Self-Produced, 2006). Indeed, the band has crafted another winner here. Even though the artists coalesce several disparate genres under the hood, it sustains a distinguished methodology, adorned by Carly Johnson's velvety and at times, sultry vocalizations.
Led by first-rate saxophonist and extraordinary improviser Jacob Duncan who is equally comfortable within mainstream jazz and free-form stylizations, part of the ensemble's success can be attributed to its morphing of brash, big band horn arrangements with pathos, drawling blues vamps, and moody jazz opuses. They also integrate splashes of indie rock, accelerated by electric guitarist Craig Wagner's crunching lines and the rhythm section's medium tempo backbeats.
On "Wish I May," the artists interconnect jazz and Americana via Johnson's sweet folk-ish delivery and Wagner's tender acoustic guitar phrasings, but segue into a brassy overture with fiery sax solos. Hence, the band instills quite a bit of depth into its repertoire. And trumpeter Kris Eans goes on a tear by soaring into the red-zone during the multifaceted jazz-rock piece, "Tip Toe." But the artists moderate the pitch on "Consolations," which is rooted on a flourishing arrangement with weaving horns and implied, ethereal backdrops supported by guest pianist Rachel Grimes' ascending chords and drummer Michael Hyman's swooshing cymbals. For the album finale, the artists impart a blossoming progressive jazz arrangement, tinted with faintly executed gospel overtones. Nonetheless, their qualitative outputs rings loud and clear, and for selfish reasons, I hope they make it back into the studio sooner than later.
Track Listing: You; Fortress; Wish I May; Let’s Not Pretend; Invisible House; The Lazy
Mist; Tip toe; Death from Above; Consolations; Nova Vite
Personnel: Jacob Duncan: alto saxophone, flute, Rhodes, vocals; Carly Johnson:
vocals; Michael Hyman: drums; Craig Wagner: guitars; Chris Fitzgerald:
double bass; Steve Good: tenor saxophone,bass clarinet, clarinet; Chris
Fortner: trombone; Kris Eans: trumpet;
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.