AUM Fidelity

GRASS ROOTS ...[ Sean Conly Alex Harding Darius Jones Chad Taylor ]
....Grass Roots ..AAUM075

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1) HOTTTNESS (8:01) (MP3 Excerpt/s)
2) LOVELORN (9:16) (MP3 Excerpt)
3) RICOCHET (3:51) (MP3 Excerpt)
4) SCHNIBBETT (11:50) (MP3 Excerpt)
5) FLIGHT AZ 1734 (6:39) (MP3 Excerpt)
6) WHATISS (10:45) (MP3 Excerpt)

7) HOVERING ABOVE (8:32)

Darius Jones: alto sax, composition
Alex Harding
: baritone sax, composition

Sean Conly
: bass, composition
Chad Taylor
: drums, composition

Compositions: 1,2 by Darius Jones; 3,7 by Grass Roots;
4 by Sean Conly; 5 by Alex Harding; 6 by Chad Taylor
Recorded by Michael Marciano at Systems Two Studio, Brooklyn, NY

Cover photograph by Thomas Sayers Ellis
Portraits by John Rogers


*4 Stars* "Taking in bluesy free-bop, exotic Ethio-jazz, and avant-garde abstractions, Grass Roots remains remarkably cohesive, distinguished by its taught and muscular post-hip hop sound, and the group’s highly sensitive use of space."
–Stewart Smith, The List

"We bear witness to the hive mind in the music itself. A shared ecstasy shines forth in each second of this recording — what an amazing thing to celebrate."
–Bryon Hayes, Exclaim

"The strong personalities of everyone come out on these recordings, not in competition but in cooperation. Harding’s burly baritone finds companionship with Jones’ passionate, room-filling alto. Conly and Taylor proactively initiate the direction of a song, providing guidelines that the saxophonists can easily exploit. .. Sharply defined blues or r&b themes serve as launching pads for abstract expeditions. .. The mixture of spontaneity with clear-cut harmonic construction is made possible by the symbiosis forged. Grass Roots’ first project fulfilsl the promise of its members, and then some."
–S. Victor Aaron, Something Else!

"When [Jones and Harding] pair up for the sprinting melody lines that launch many of these pieces, it’s honestly one of the most exhilarating sounds in jazz circa 2012. Conly and Taylor are a loose but keenly attuned rhythm section, locked in with each other and swinging like [mad]. .. A multifaceted and carefully considered record that also happens to muster an almost convulsive energy."
–Phil Freeman, Burning Ambulance


Grass Roots members: alto saxophonist/composer Darius Jones has been astonishing folks with his voluminous gifts since arriving in NYC, and worldwide since the release of his debut Man’ish Boy (A Raw & Beautiful Thing) (2009).  Drummer/composer Chad Taylor has contributed extensively to the greatness of both the Chicago and New York music scenes; his long-running Chicago Underground Duo/Trio/Orchestra project with cornetist Rob Mazurek has brought him perhaps the greatest acclaim to date. Taylor’s previous (extraordinary) appearance on AUM Fidelity was as 1/3 of Triptych Myth’s The Beautiful (2005).  Alex Harding is one of the very few modern musicians who have mastered the baritone saxophone, and he has performed and/or recorded with everyone from David Murray to Aretha Franklin; Sun Ra Arkestra to Angélique Kidjo.  Most recently, he is an original cast/band member of the musical FELA! (both on Broadway and the traveling group).  Bassist/composer Sean Conly has been integrally active in numerous NYC jazz scenes since the mid-90s, touring and/or recording with a vast array of artists, from Andrew Hill to Regina Carter; Paquito DeRivera to Stefon Harris.

Because each member of Grass Roots composes for this group, each track (in its multiple layers) is distinct unto itself yet integral to the whole.  Their sectional arrangements evince great thought & attention to detail; the performances thereof always bring the soul of unfettered expression.  Orchestral fanfares evolve into monster grooves with longing melodies; gloriously searing free sections lock down again into monster grooves. Mackadocious!

The final piece on the album, improvised at the conclusion of the session when the principal work had been accomplished, is something else entirely. While listening, my own mind conjures an alien landscape rich with flora and fauna, which the group then proceeds to explore [seemingly] from the perspective of a giant dragonfly. -SJ


AUM Fidelity