This is the debut album from Chicago-based trumpeter Marques Carroll and he uses it to address very specific concernsthe ongoing struggle for identity and freedom that African-Americans have been going through in the USA for centuries. He does this in compositions that represent a dialogue between generations, music that reaches back to the spiritual jazz of the Sixties as well as touching on the hip-hop, soul and Latin rhythms of today.
On the opening "The Ancestors' Call Upon Us" pianist Amr Fahmy, bassist Christian Dillingham and drummer Greg Artry lay down a heavily rumbling African rhythm for the horn players, Carroll, alto saxophonist Brent Griffin and guest trombonist Alex Wasily, to ride over coolly. That is answered in the next track, "Generational Response," by the rhythm section stroking a mellow hip-hop beat as the trumpet and alto roll through with soulful verve. The versatile rhythmic flow of Fahmy, Dillingham and Artry is a crucial part of all the music here. That is especially true for the Afro-Latin vamps of the sporty "Assemble The Enlightened" and the boiling "Urgency." "Beyond The Battle" starts with chaotic screaming but eventually coalesces into a rolling R'n'B groove with Carroll and Griffin blowing easily and unruffled.
There is also a vocal track, "Aries Goddess" which brings things into a harsher focus. Here, Sharon Irving powerfully sings the role of a mother who has just heard that her child has been shot. She is the centerpiece of a harrowing soul ballad performance as Carroll and Griffin cry eloquently around her. The album culminates in two more spiritual compositions. "Resolution For US" has brooding, entwined horns playing over a brisk, clipped tempo and on "The Ancestors' Final Words," Carroll and Griffin fire out with bluesy harmonized cries over slow rolling rhythm section combustion before soloing against a steady walking bass.
This album dwells in a place where meditative spirituality and progressive fire meet R'n'B chill, There are definite echoes of past adventurers such as McCoy Tyner and Lee Morgan in the melodies and horn play, but there is also an incorporation of modern R'n'B rhythms underneath which reflects the overall theme of generations reaching out to each other. Marquis Carroll makes a strong first impression here with excellent music which has both soul and gravity
The Ancestors' Call Upon Us; Generational Response; Assemble The Enlightened; Beyond The Battle;
Urgency; Aries Goddess (For Consuela and the Fallen); Resolution For US; The Ancestors' Final Words.