Logan Richardson's latest project, Blues People, is a condition, a state of being. The album was derived from the early slave calls that inspired the earliest American jazz and blues musical traditions. Here at the Tiny Desk, the saxophonist revisits that history with four remarkable songs from the album, all performed with a hope that our country's future will be less painful than its past.
"The thing for me is not being afraid to firmly stand on the shoulders of our forefathers, the ones that paved the way for us." Richardson told NPR after the performance. "I'd like this music to be an accumulation of everything involved with the historic tradition of jazz music, black American music, improvised music or whatever you want to call it."
You can hear what Richardson means on the opening song, "80's Child," a reflection on the decade Richardson was born. Its colorful melody complements the band's energetic fusion groove. Continually pushing forward with momentum and anticipation, its 8/8 time signature moves seamlessly into 10/8 to create an intensity that is both focused and free.
The next groove, "The Settlement," maintains a similar tone and features DeAndre Manning slapping on his funky bass. The song gently segues into the only vocal piece, "Black Brown & Yellow," a lovely reminder that racial diversity is something to celebrate.
"Anthem (To Human Justice)" ends with brilliance best described by my colleague Nate Chinen, "By design, too, Richardson's alto saxophone often functions more like a lead vocalist than as a virtuoso solo instrument. He's a good conduit for soaring, plaintive melody.... And however the band surges or thrashes around him, there's a feeling of urgent communion in this music."
- "80's Child"
- "The Settlement"
- "Black Brown & Yellow"
- "Anthem (To Human Justice)"
Logan Richardson (Alto Sax), Justus West (Electric Guitar, Vocals), DeAndre Manning (Electric Bass), Ryan Lee (Drums, Samples), Igor Osypov (Electric Guitar)
Producers: Suraya Mohamed, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Bronson Arcuri, Beck Harlan, Dani Lyman; Production Assistants: Joshua Bote; Photo: Eslah Attar/NPR.