This album starts with a Dr. Yusef Lateef cover, who you may know taught out at UMASS and Hampshire College. A dream, an awakening, it is beautiful and mysterious, and tone setting for this the first album of 2019 that really grabbed my whole being and shook it with vigor. And so I and we find ourselves on the path to “The Oracle.” What is the Oracle? One thing I know for sure is that it is the 8th and final and eponymous track found on ANGEL BAT DAWID’s simply stunning debut record which was recently released by Chicago’s INTERNATIONAL ANTHEM.
Bass rumbles in the shadows, clarinet soars over backbeat. It is minutes before any voices are heard, and when they are they are strange. This is “Black Family” the album’s second track. I am IN this world created by Dawid. This music is free. And free jazz isn’t a wrong term to use I suppose, but these loose, and magical songs don’t quite jibe with that description either.
“What Shall I Tell My Children Who Are Black” is haunting and plaintive. Dawid here puts music to the words of the inspiring arts organizer Dr. Margaret Burroughs who I’m so glad I now know about. Another magical song, multiple voices twisting up together and unwinding, and twisting up again pondering the poison of racism and how it will seep into our future.
There is a general reed headed wildness to this music. Woodwinds on fire. An experimental soul jazz delivered with an honesty, directness, and flair that is impossibly striking. Song interpretations, originals, and experimental jazz excursions all adding up to a spectacular album, a spectacular statement of Blackness in 2019. And “London”‘s bass clarinet and piano duo. Mmm. Really impressed and moved and excited for more from ANGEL BAT DAWID.