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Album Review

Carlos Niño: More Energy Fields, Current

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Carlos Niño: More Energy Fields, Current
Los Angeles-based percussionist, producer and sometime radio DJ Carlos Niño is active in jazz and new age music. His new age work, though immaculately crafted, is of limited interest from an AAJ perspective. But his jazz projects repay close attention. An early landmark was Horace (Elephant, 2001), singer Dwight Trible's salute to pianist, bandleader and community activist Horace Tapscott, which Niño co-produced with Trible. More recently, Niño has worked with saxophonist Kamasi Washington, who guested on Carlos Niño & Friends' excellent Flutes, Echoes, It's All Happening! (Leaving, 2016), and drummer Makaya McCraven, whose breakout album, Universal Beings (International Anthem, 2018), featured Niño and tenor saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings, who is heard on two tracks on More Energy Fields, Current, in unusually chilled-out mode.

More Energy Fields, Current straddles the intersection of jazz and new age music and features a rolling cast of musicians, including Kamasi Washington, keyboard player Jamael Dean, tenor saxophonists Hutchings and Aaron Shaw, zither player and singer Laraaji and drummers Jamire Willams (Herbie Hancock, Robert Glasper) and Adam Rudolph, with whom Niño co-founded ritual drumming/dance music mash-up Hu Vibrational and cross-genre Go: Organic Orchestra.

The album's soundbeds are expansive and laidback, with the notable exception of those on two midway tracks, "Thanking The Earth," a bassy, restless affair featuring Sam Gendel on vibraphone and Nate Mercereau on guitar synth, and "Salon Winds," where Jamire Williams' drum patterns introduce a relatively urgent note. Shabaka Hutchings is featured on the opening track, "Pleasewakemeupalittlefaster, Please," and, more extensively, on the closer, "Please, Wake Up," sounding atypically chilled.

Niño's liner note for "Pleasewakemeupalittlefaster, Please" reads: "We're all in this together. I look forward to living in a much higher, much more conscious, harmonious state, here, with You, on this Magical Planet Earth." Cynics might dismiss this as Southern Californian psychobabble but, actually, it is a noble sentiment, to which one might add: No one here gets out alive, but while we are present, let us make it a better place.

Track Listing

Pleasewakemeupalittlefaster, Please; The World Sings, 4321 Degnan Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90008; Nightswimming; Now The Background Is The Foreground; Thanking The Earth; Salon Winds; Ripples, Reflections, Loop; Togetherness; Lasos ’79 ‘Til Infinity; Please, Wake Up.

Personnel

Carlos Niño: percussion.

Additional Instrumentation

Carlos Niño: percussion, synthesizer, chimes, field recordings, production, mixing, editing; Shabaka Hutchings: tenor saxophone (1, 10); Jamael Dean: piano (1-3, 10) , organ (1) , Yamaha DX7 (4), Prophet Keyboard (6), electric piano (7, 8), synthesizer (10); Nate Mercereau: guitar (1, 5), guitar synth world (6); Sam Gendel: alto saxophone (2), pedals (2), vibraphone (5); Randy Gloss: hybrid drum set (2); Dntel: modular synthesizer (3); Jira ><: beats (3); Aaron Shaw: tenor saxophone (4, 6), flute (6); Adam Rudolph: drum machine, multiple instruments (4); JamireWilliams: drums (6); Laraaji: zither (7), voice (7); Sharada: voice (7); Devin Daniels: alto saxophone (8).

Album information

Title: More Energy Fields, Current | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: International Anthem Recording Company


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