Dezron Douglas – ATALAYA

Like a rich, dark roast coffee, the music on Dezron Douglas’ latest LP blooms with a robust, full-bodied smoothness, and you’ll savor every drop.

Released today on Chicago’s great International Anthem label, ATALAYA finds the world renowned bassist leading a crack team of jazz impresarios (George Burton on piano and Rhodes, Joe Dyson Jr. on drums and Emilio Modeste on saxophone with Melvis Santa providing vocals and percussion on the song “Wheeping Birch”) through swinging post-bop zones and empyrean spiritual jazz atmospheres.

There’s a permeating aura of deep coolness that flows throughout the entire record, especially on the sauntering summer breeze-like “Foligno,” which concludes the album. Yet, there are also instances where that coolness heats up into a spectacular firework show of dazzling drum work and dueling piano and sax melodies that skitter and slither at juggernaut speeds. This is especially evident on the wild “J Bird” and “Coyoacán.” The latter of these two tracks also features some truly breathtaking bass lines from Douglas.

You can absolutely feel how closely the members of this band listen to one another as they perform each song. They operate like a tight single-minded machine, even when a member solos like a missile spiraling off into the ether.

No matter the mood, the group always fills each tune with plenty of color, texture and balance, again, like a damn fine cup of coffee. This aspect of their sound and dynamic lends itself perfectly to songs like “More Coffee Please,” for that reason alone. Douglas even doubled down on this quality of the record and partnered with Four Letter Word!, a Chicago roastery, to create an Ethiopian coffee blend specifically for ATALAYA (which can be purchased on Bandcamp). It is in this music journalist’s opinion that the best albums pair well with a good cup of joe.

Fans of Jackie McLean, Max Roach and Lee Morgan will surely adore this record. Click here to order your copy today.



Published by Record Crates United

Keith Hadad, the creator and manager of RCU, has been a contributing writer to Elmore Magazine and and maintains a regular column, “Keith Hadad’s Choice,” in Blicker magazine. His writing has also appeared in the Smithsonian Folkways' Guest Blog and the Optical Sounds Fanzine. Also, please check out the blog's super-active Instagram account, @recordcratesunited for daily blurb-styled music reviews.

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