Garrett Saracho, Adrian Younge & Ali Shaheed Muhammad

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New Jazz Record Release: November 2022

Jazz; jazz-funk; afro-cuban; Redbone.

This record ticks many boxes for me, covering my love of heavy bass, jazz-funk, afro-Cuban and Latin. And there is quite an interesting story behind how it came into existence. Listen on Tidal and Apple Music – both lossless.

This is record number 15 in the series out of Los Angeles Jazz is Dead – by Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad. I have enjoyed just about every release so far.

It would seem that Garrett Saracho is a reclusive character who made a great record in 1973 – En Medio – that quickly disappeared without a trace after it was deleted by his record label Impulse. I say ‘great record’ but I have never heard it myself and have not been able to track it down, I am dependent upon reliable reviews. As well as jazz-funk and Latin there was apparently more than a hint of the psychedelic, which would certainly appeal to me. Psychedelic jazz-funk – what’s not to like!

Remember Redbone?

After the record company debacle Garrett went on to tour with Redbone in the mid-70’s. Now, that brings memories flooding back for me, because Redbone released one of my favourite singles of 1971: Witch Queen of New Orleans. They were not a one-hit wonder as some seem to think but actually had other ‘hits’ and made quite a few albums. Their biggest hit was Come and Get Your Love in 1974, which Marvel Studios fans will know from the film Guardians of the Galaxy. They were admitted into the Native American Music Hall of Fame in 2008.

Returning to the record, this is an eclectic, interesting, and consistent collection of styles, all performed very well and with a ‘live’ feel. Music is complex and never dull but also accessible. There is always something interesting going on, as we move from mambo to salsa to funk; slow thoughtful tracks and bright danceable tracks. I am not usually a fan of strings; think ‘slush’, ‘syrup’, ‘twee’. It is just not my taste and in jazz and rock music does not often work. That does not mean to say that it never works, and this record is a good example of when it does work – and very well. The Linear Labs Orchestra are excellent and very much in tune with the music, enhancing rather than coming too forward in the mix. On the excellent second track – Altitude – I hardly noticed them until a minute or so into the tune, their very unobtrusiveness being testament – in part at least – to just how well arranged they were. They were also excellent in themselves and every much a part of the overall sound as all the other instruments.

In short, if you like jazz, jazz-funk, latin and Cuban sounds, this is an excellent choice.

Web links

Jazz is Dead


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