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Music Album reviews with Ian Sinclair: June 20, 2022

New releases from Trombone Shorty, Laura Veirs, and Noori & His Dorpa Band

Trombone Shorty
Lifted
(Blue Note)
★★★★

TROY ANDREWS, AKA Trombone Shorty, has quite the CV – as a jazz musician, vocalist and composer with  a slew of collaborations under his belt, and also as an actor, having appeared in Treme, the HBO series set in the aforementioned New Orleans neighbourhood well known for its modern brass band music.

With the 36-year old trumpet and trombone player writing in the inlay notes that he hopes to keep “the culture and spirit of Treme alive,” Lifted is an exhilarating, high energy mix of jazz, rock, soul, R&B, funk and hip hop that is all but guaranteed to get you moving.

Opener Come Back rides waves of chunky brass and guitar riffs, while Good Company and Everybody In The World, featuring a burping Sousaphone care of the New Breed Brass Band, deliver huge bursts of positivity.

Joyous party music.

Laura Veirs
Found Light
(Bella Union)
★★★★

WITH 2020’s impressive My Echo record written just before Laura Veirs split from her husband and longtime producer Tucker Martine, Found Light finds the Portland singer-songwriter working through self-doubt to embrace a new sense of personal and artistic freedom.

Co-produced alongside Shahzad Ismaily, there are glimmers of the calming acoustic folk songs that Veirs has perfected over her career – check out the wonderful Naked Hymn.

On Ring Song the narrator pawns their wedding ring, while Time Will Show You sketches a casual Airbnb-facilitated sexual encounter.

I suspect long-time fans like me might feel a bit discombobulated: beyond the beauty of her distinct, soaring vocals, there’s an uncharacteristic edginess to proceedings. This is most evident on Eucalyptus, which is underpinned by Radiohead-style glitch beats, while Winter Windows closes her 12th studio album with a burst of ’90s-sounding indie rock.

 

Noori & His Dorpa Band
Beja Power!
(Ostinato Records)
★★★

IN late 2021, shortly after the military coup in Sudan, Ostinato Records visited Khartoum. Searching Tik Tok, they came across a band based in Port Sudan on the Red Sea coast.

The outcome of this international scouting is a refreshing instrumental record from Noori & His Dorpa Band. Playing a self-built, electrified tambo guitar, Noori provides an introduction to Beja music from the east of Sudan, which had long been suppressed under the 30-year rule of dictator Omar al-Bashir. Indeed, apparently this is the first international release of the Beja sound.

There is a hypnotic feel to the swirling guitar music, melding blues, rock, soul and jazz with a Middle Eastern flavour. And it swings too. Opener Saagama brings to mind the desert blues of Mali’s Ali Farka Toure, while there are some lovely saxophone flourishes on Jabana.

 

 

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