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In the liner notes of NYC jazz trio Harriet Tubman’s new album, Araminta, the great pop critic Greg Tate writes: “This is the music of lyrical and mythopoeic Blackfolk with liberated, decolonized and highly elevated consciousness. It is lyrical, righteous and volcanic.” Evoking the modern civil rights cry of our time, “Black Lives Matter,” Tate concludes, that on this record — which features the guest trumpet work of the legendary Wadada Leo Smith — the band couldn’t be “more personal, more engaged, more spiritual regenerative, or more radically oppositional to That BS.”

In a recent interview with Brad Cohan for the Observer, Tubman guitarist Brandon Ross clarifies even further: “Harriet Tubman isn’t a political platform per se. Just showing up as ‘other’ is a political platform nowadays!” Harriet Tubman’s work stretches back to the late ’90s, and its members — Ross, bassist Melvin Gibbs, and drummer J.T. Lewis — have worked with artists as wide ranging as Henry Rollins, John Lurie, Archie Shepp, DJ Logic, Arrested Development, Lou Reed, and Herbie Hancock. Their power, expressed through songs like “Blacktal Fractual,” draws from the psychedelic blues of Hendrix and the force of early hardcore, melding that rangy energy to spiritual and cosmic jazz expanses. Harriet Tubman blows hot breath in the face of oppression. words / j woodbury

3 Responses to “Harriet Tubman :: Blacktal Fractal”

  1. Are you kidding me? I didn’t know jazz was still alive!?!?! Kamasi Washington left me cold and so did Robert Glasper. I’ve searched every avenue. I’ve heard a lot of great people keeping up the tradition, but I haven’t heard anyone take it to a new level, or have it be current without sounding like a tribute or an oldies band, until now. Bravo!

  2. We need more shit like this! Thanks for turning me on.

  3. Yes. That’s very nice indeed. Thanks.

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