It has long been said that "there's nothing new under the sun," but this record counters that particular proverb's proclamation. Drummer/composer Dafnis Prieto has birthed an album unlike anything else in his own discographyor anywhere else, for that matter.
The self-titled debut from Prieto's Proverb Trio is a triumphantly trippy album that's built around the notion of jazz as a collectively improvised modern melting pot. Prieto, keyboardist Jason Lindner and singer/rapper Kokayi came into the studio without preconceived pieces and, relying solely on their firm skills in on-the-spot composing and playing experiences with one another, managed to close shop six hours later with a modern-day masterpiece under their collective belt.
The trio presents a unified aural front across all twelve tracks on this record but never repeats itself, starting out with " Into The Light Love," framing Kokayi's powerful neo-soul vocals with Prieto's driving drumming and Lindner's the-future-is-now keyboard sounds. "You And Me" comes next, serving as a mellow palette cleanser that clears the way for Kokayi's Konnakol-meets-beatbox on "The Magic Danzonette." The spacious "Extasis" is the least-focused number on the record, but proves to be a welcome contrast when placed next to the fun and funky jam environment of "You Got It."
Lindner's Bach-like keyboard work and Prieto's martial snare drumming introduce "In War," which features Kokayi's melodic, freestyle rapping, while the fusion of spacey keyboards and one-of-a-kind groove comes to the surface on "Vamos A Jugar" and "Talking Too Much." "What Have We All Done" takes the energy level down a bit, but "Dirty Us" more than makes up for it with its hard-hitting grooves and declarative vocals. As the album comes to a close, the trio touches on two very different ideals; "Mystery Man" comes off as ambient minimalism, while "Mother Nature" sounds like manufactured Latin folk music, with Prieto's "Afro-Andino" groove backing up Lindner's flute-like keyboard sounds.
While the "Proverb" part of this band's name may appear to seem ill-suited to the whole, it makes perfect sense when viewing the working parts. Prieto and company borrow musical ideals in everyday use, but twist them for their own purposes, creating something unpredictable at every turn. While Prieto has nothing to prove to anybody, this album is just one more example of why he so deserved the MacArthur Fellowshipa.k.a "genius grant"that came his way.
Track Listing: Into The Light Love; You And Me; The Magic Danzonete; Extasis; You Got It; In War; Vamos a Jugar; Talking Too Much; What Have We All Done; Dirty Us; Mother Nature.
Personnel: Dafnis Prieto: drums, percussion; Jason Lindner: keyboards; Kokayi: vocals.
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