Sunday 18 February 2024

'"Harlem to Havana": Afro​-​Cuban Modernism VOL​.​1' by New Jazz Underground

The new release from the New York-based New Jazz Underground once again provides a fascinating depiction of an innovative and creative jazz trio continuing to establish themselves as a defining voice for the genre.

With its three band members having met and connected via their time as Julliard students, saxophonist Abdias Armenteros, bassist Sebastian Rios and drummer TJ Reddick have cultivated a strong online following over a comparatively short period of time.

Thanks to a series of creative live performance videos housed on their YouTube channel, New Jazz Underground fully demonstrate their devotion and appreciation to jazz's architects and icons but still strive to push forward in a quest to establish their own sound - one that is influenced by contemporary takes on hip-hop, neo-soul and Latin aesthetics.

An exquisite introduction to New Jazz Underground for listeners came in the form of the trio's debut single 'Cartel', featuring pianist Eric "ELEW" Lewis and released in January 2023.  Recorded a mere four days prior to its release, the vibrant and uplifting track perhaps showcased more nods to a classic and quintessential perspective on New York jazz but one that is no less engaging.  'The MF DOOM SUiTE' would follow later that year and provide a completely different dimension to the trio as four tracks from the dearly departed Metal Face's catalogue were lovingly reimagined through New Jazz Underground's distinct vision brilliantly tackling production by Doom and Madlib and doing expert justice to the fandom.

2024 sees the trio once again redefining listener expectations with the release of their new EP, '"Harlem to Havana": Afro​-​Cuban Modernism VOL​.​1'.  Serving as their most involved set yet, New Jazz Underground showcase an entirely new dimension to their music with the project immersed within Latin American and Cuban rhythms masterfully interspersed with the progressive take on contemporary jazz.  Over the course of the EP's four tracks, the trio are joined by keyboardist Axel Tosca and vocalist Gina D'Soto who provide sensational value to the music and again highlight the New Jazz Underground's propensity to relish in the joys of collaboration.  'The Best Thing' marks a particularly outstanding track as is the project's potential scene-stealer in 'Cómo Remolino' which D'Soto just soars over.

Thanks to their boundless talent and ingenious way of connecting with their audience, New Jazz Underground seem poised for unlimited success.  And for a band as creative, exciting and versatile as they are, it's more than deserved.

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