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.
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.
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.