Boomkat Product Review:
Manny horn player, bandleader, writer and activist Angus Fairbairn, aka Alabaster Deplume, digs deep on GOLD, a forking double-album of big-hearted jazz that unspools the past to root itself decidedly in the present. RIYL Angel Bat Dawit, Duval Timothy, Makaya McCraven or Sam Gendel.
Fairbairn doesn't hide behind his musical skill - he's completely open-hearted on GOLD, using anecdotes, good humor and witty poetry to ask listeners to love themselves and each other, without sounding completely crunchy Los Angeles. It's his Northern wit and soft accent that spikes his message with a self-deprecating honesty, so when he half-sings that he still remembers his dealer's phone number but forgets his own worth on 'Don't Forget You're Precious', you completely believe him.
Assisted by a large ensemble of vocalists, instrumentalists, synth wizards and percussionists, Fairbairn rattles through a library-referencing sound that straddles jazz history. It's neither heady improv nor skronky modernism, but slicked with references to big band, folk, gospel, blues and funk without descending into choppy eclecticism. The glue is Fairbairn's voice, that wisps through the luscious instrumental backdrops like fairy dust, stopping riffs short of being overfamiliar or dusty drums from falling into nostalgia. He's got charm in spades too, charging that open hearted spirit thru his collaborators.
Another wildly lush sounding record from the irrepressible International Anthem Recording Co.