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“DD Review: Nubya Garcia – When We Are.”

Score: 10/10

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Every year when the winter is over, the sun comes out, everything starts blooming and you start smelling things again, it feels completely new, even though it’s happened before. That’s kind of what this recent wave of brilliant jazz spearheaded by one Mr. Washington we’ve been enjoying lately feels like. It’s too fresh to be a “rehash” and it’s too authentically chaotic, blue and “jazz”-like to be anything erroneously removed from the overall movement.
But then tracking the overall progress of music’s collective genre isn’t as important as just sitting back and enjoying it. One thing Garcia and her band of Joe Jones on piano, Daniel Casimir on bass and Femi Coleoso on drums really nail is draping the songs with incredible variety. The opening title track moves along nimbly on tip toes of relatively lithe, jaunty and safari-like drums, by jazz standards, Garcia and Jones trading off with their own note poems for respective hemispheres of the tune’s structure. Jones at one point in the song’s innards almost sounds handicapped, like a little kid doodling on his Mom’s piano with one finger, until ripping into this shred-fest of rolls and rapid harmonies. “Source” then saunters in coolly with about the same tempo, but with a way looser, jazzy-sounding snare, and a lot more hat and cymbal work. Then, too, Coleoso gets the spotlight not for TOO long, but enough to make his presence felt of a couple dandy soloing bars. When I saw that When We Are was a four-song EP of 26 minutes I figured I’d like it, just because it shirked the usual pop convention. What I didn’t foresee was that it’s flair and lungs would come off as so familiar, as well.

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