Label: Local Tree Music
Format: 1x Vinyl LP Printed Innersleeves
Released: Mar 29, 2024
Style: Jazz, Afrobeat, Neo-Soul
A3: Keep It Simple
A4: The Mandela Effect
B1: From Lagos to Nola
B2: Look Son
B3: The Big J’s
B4: Breathing Space
Keep It Simple!
That’s what Tony Allen told me, whether on stage, in the recording studio or when we were working together on the album “The Source”(Blue Note 2017) in my studio. Obviously, if he repeated it at will, it’s because it’s so difficult, to express the essential, not to scatter, over-play, over-arrange. So natural for him, so constraining for others! For years he pushed us, the members of his group to develop our projects. I had something in mind, necessarily with him, unfortunately his unexpected demise decided otherwise.
It took a moment to accept his departure, to accept being a voice, to find a new path. The desire to continue the work started together, that of mixing styles, sounds to appropriate them and create new, authentic. The desire also to meet new people, another energy.
After composing music for this project, I asked my friend Ben Rubin, musician and producer to help me record it. I found in NYC what I was looking for, a sense of urgency, that of doing, generous and committed musicians. I knew Jason Lindner, a musician that I have been following for a long time and he was the first person I thought of for pianos and synthesizers. He has this ability to find new and powerful sounds, with a direct and unadorned playing. For the drums, I didn’t especially thought about a musician whose playing could come close or far to Tony’s. Ben suggested Josh Dion to me, I’ve been following him since his “Paris Monster” project, I love his ability to make his drums sound like a new instrument by playing the bass synth with his right hand, that forces him to keep it simple! He also plays 2 tracks in drum/synth mode on the album.
I’m also happy that he agreed to sing a song on this album.
So we recorded at the Figure8 recording studio in Brooklyn, Eli Crews providing the sound recording, we decided with Ben to create a powerful and assumed sound from the take. Many biases on the tones, whether on the drums and the keyboards. Back in my studio in Paris, I continued to search, to dig while recording additional saxophones, percussions and keyboards.
I met Tchad Blake during a week-long mixing seminar. His work on the album on is radical.
Keep it simple?
Difficult but I try to remain so on all the phases of evolution of this project, from writing to production, in the improvisation parts. Where I feel it the most is in the immediate joy of playing with Jason and Josh, of tweaking a few sounds in my studio to create the unexpected, surprise in the structures, authenticity. Simple as the desire to go towards something essential, to seek oneself, to find oneself, to doubt but also to invent oneself.