Exposé Online banner

Exposé Online

Not just outside the box, but denying the existence of boxes.
Covering music from the fringes since 1993.


Alchemy Sound Project — Afrika Love
(Artists Recording Collective, 2021, CD / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2021-08-20

Afrika Love Cover art Call them an orchestra, or call them a little big band, either label will work effectively – but there’s a whole lot of ingenuity and cohesion among this amazing group of composers and players across these five included tracks, taking elements of jazz, chamber and symphonic sounds and bringing them to a new level that offers a heartfelt and brilliant clarity that will surprise the listener from beginning to end. At the core of the ensemble are five players and five composers, each contributing one composition to Afrika Love, but one might never guess which composition was written by which member. In addition a couple additional non-composing musicians round out the lineup, although their presence is essential to the effort. At the core are double-bassist David Arend, pianist Sumi Tonooka, Erica Lindsay (tenor sax, alto flute, clarinet), Salim Washington (tenor sax, flute, bass clarinet and oboe), and trumpeter Samantha Boshnack. In addition, there is trombonist Michael Ventoso and drummer Chad Taylor. The set launches with Arend’s energetic “The Fountain,” a piece which opens and closes in a concise manner but opens up in the middle section for a powerful dose of improvisation from all. Pianist Tonooka penned the follow-up, “Dark Blue Residue,” and from her brilliant ivory work throughout, this is one that a listener might have guessed, though plenty of room is still made for the full ensemble to shine. The title track comes next, penned by Washington, it’s the album’s longest cut at nearly ten minutes, shifting between dreamy vignettes and effortless grooves, plentiful with surprises along its journey. With Boshnack’s oddly titled “The Cadillac of Mountains,” its inspiration came from the dramatic beauty and expanses of the Pacific Northwest, though musically it cycles through a number of ideas, and gives plenty of space for all the players. The set closes with Lindsay’s “Kesii” and makes for a brilliant and tasty collection of ever-shifting themes, and though it’s hard to pick a favorite track among the five on Afrika Love, this may be the one.

Filed under: New releases, 2021 releases

Related artist(s): Alchemy Sound Project

More info


What's new

These are the most recent changes made to artists, releases, and articles.