Curtis Brothers' Completion of Proof Get Reviewed on All About Jazz!
Drawing upon influences ranging from traditional bop to classical, and even funk, The Curtis Brothers have been making a name for themselves as one of the up-and-coming talents of swing in a seemingly swingless era. Legendary hard bop drummer Ralph Peterson Jr. calls The Curtis Brothers "the real deal" the classic undersell for what may be the future for traditional jazz. Artistic integrity, along with a vibrant broad based sound catapults The Curtis Brothers to the head of the pack in charting a new course and raising the bar for others to follow with originality, sincerity and a decidedly personal swing all their own.
Completion of Proof is a roots-oriented release, a pulsating hybrid of blues and swing drawn from an African-Caribbean "Big Easy" melting pot that allows this jazz gumbo to reduce down to a spicy and satisfying main course that is essentially absent on today's hard bop menu. A musical frame of reference could easily beArt Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, or the music of Jackie McLean, fast-forwarded 25 years later a more focused extension of a blues-infused bop that seems to have evolved into a sub-genre of its own, with artists like The Curtis Brothers taking the baton and running with it.
The opening "Protestor," inspired by the lone man that literally took on the entire Chinese army, captures the boldly rich, horn-laden sound reminiscent of the early days of hard bop. Completion Of Proof was written to play to the strengths of the band and, with Ralph Peterson Jr. driving the musical train, The Curtis Brothers are firing on all cylinders. "Sol Within" and other originals are captivating, while embracing the originality and harmonic progression that seems less en voguetoday. The closing "Jazz Conspiracy" may sum up the feelings held by many artists and jazz journalists that the government of corporations, especially in the entertainment community, assumes to play cultural gatekeeper for everyone, while remaining a free-flowing cash cow siphoning off an unsuspecting public, with little accountability.
An all-star lineup has been assembled to include, along with Peterson, saxophonist Donald Harrison and trumpeter Brian Lynch, while brothers Luques (bass) and Zaccai (piano) chart a new course with original material as they proclaim their own musical identity. Ground zero for this socio-politically inspired release is "Manifest Destiny," where both brothers perform almost as symbiotic alter-egos, joined by mentors Jimmy Greene (tenor saxophone) and Joe Ford (alto saxophone), and swinging with Latin percussion greats Pedro Martinez and Rogerio Boccato. The eight originals were recorded in one or two takes, allowing for a warm, open and almost live studio sound that highlights the contributions of each band member furthering proving that this chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and there simply are no weak links here.
The Curtis Brothers are discovering their musical happy place, somewhere between bop and hard bop, but with a musical depth of field all their own. A journey for musical truth well worth taking.
Track Listing: Protestor; Madison; The Onge; The Wrath; Mass Manipulation; Manifest Destiny; Sol Within; Jazz Conspiracy.
Personnel: Zaccai Curtis: piano; Luques Curtis: bass; Ralph Peterson: drums; Brian Lynch: trumpet; Donald Harrison: alto saxophone (1-3, 7, 8); Joe Ford: alto saxophone (4-6); Jimmy Greene: tenor saxophone (4-6); Pedro Martinez: bata (4,6); Rogerio Boccato: Brazilian percussion (5); Reinaldo De Jesus: percussion (7).
Record Label: Truth Revolution Records
- Brent Black Published: October 29, 2011