Wednesday 16 April 2014

'Heroes + Misfits' by Kris Bowers [Album Review]

I’m having particular difficulty in trying to keep up with the amount of new jazz releases at the moment and really have to tip my hat to the amount of excellent stuff that’s currently out there and am fully enjoying immersing myself in as much of it as I can come across.  The debut album from Kris Bowers – 2011’s winner of the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition – is always going to raise particular interest though, especially when said winner is a part of Jose James’s touring band, and has his debut album released via the illustrious jazz label, Concord Music Group.

Team Jose James are shaping up to have an incredibly busy 2014: following the release of Takuya Kuroda’s ‘Rising Son’ not too long ago (which features Kris Bowers’s handiwork throughout), ‘Heroes + Misfits’ sees Bowers heading up his own sextet for a release rooted in classic jazz tradition, while progressive enough to speak as an artist in his own right, in his own time.  With song titles like ‘Wake The Neighbors’ and ‘#TheProtester’, even the album title itself, ‘Heroes + Misfits’, present a young artist with a charming air of rebellion that culminates in an irresistible sound.

Guests include Robert Glasper Experiment’s very own Casey Benjamin, who blesses us with his saxophone on several songs throughout, and even brings his now infamous vocoder along too for the aforementioned ‘#TheProtester’; Jose James appears on the album closer, ‘Ways of Light’, but it’s Julia Easterlin who steals the show with her contribution to ‘Forget-er’ – I’d use a lot of words and not really come close in being able to describe how beautiful this song is so please check it out here:

Aside from the songs already mentioned, ‘Drift’ is another that will definitely find itself on ‘best of 2014’ playlists (certainly mine!) and on ‘Heroes + Misfits’, there really is buckets to choose from so make this album a part of your playlists as soon as you can.

Also, expect to hear Kris Bowers on Jose James’s upcoming Blue Note Records release, ‘While You Were Sleeping’.

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