Boomkat Product Review:
One-time regular at Plastic People’s influential CDr events, Henry Keen brings the broken beat and jazz soul sauce to his 2nd solo album after some 25 years of productions.
Also known as The Room Below for DBA, and as part of the Electric Jalaba and Soundspecies projects, Keen has been affiliated with London’s broken beats scene since the late ‘90s with links established to Paul White’s One-Handed Music and Attica Blues. ‘Freedom In Movement’ is his definitive statement of lessons absorbed and learned on the Plastic People dancefloor and jamming with likeminds, giving slightly longer time to spell out his ideas than on the super concise cuts of his ’70’s Baby’ album of 2017.
Clearly skooled in a half century of jazz-fusion styles, the record dips and bends between tempos, meters and vibes with a properly loose-limbed appeal. ‘Dexter’s Breakfast’ features Ben Hadwen’s vibrant sax knitted to sizzling drum work and keys in classic echo of Dego and co, and ‘Heavy = Good’ really shreds rug on a more psych-dub-jazz-wise flex, while more succinct shots of West African-styled percussion and slompy NYC strut give way to a pendulous beatdown pearl at the heart of it all in ‘Roots!’, and ‘Herb Chick’ pull it back to intricate jazz-fusion craft, before signing off with the Andres-like swag of ‘Digging In Detroit’.