Jemal Ramirez solid soulful jazz Jemal Ramirez – AFRICAN SKIES: My initial listens were to a reduced-length promo copy of jazz drummer Jemal’s absolute cool new jazz release… we got to talking via FB, and he let me know that the album is actually a double-disc release, which he sent for me to review from… and when you scope out the solid & soulful changes on “On The Move“, you’ll dig just how deep they can go down… the recording quality is right up there at the top level of all the CD’s I’ve listened to (yet) in 2018… I mean, you can hear every note in crisp brilliance… a definite “hats off” to the engineers is in order, to be sure!
Jemal has a stellar cast of musical characters around his drums… the vibe work by Warren Wolf on the title track, “African Skies“, is just amazing, and with the song clocking in at 6:35, each of the other players has a chance to shine as well.. Howard Wiley on sax, Mike Olmos on trumpet, Matthew Clark on piano/keyboards and John Shifflett on bass make this a song that will remain on your playlists for years to come… in fact, I suspect you’ll be hearing this on jazz radio ’round the world… I can easily see this tune being recommended for (and winning) awards.
One of Jemal’s goals is to “promote instrumental music within the lives of people of all ages”, and he & his crew certainly make that a shimmering reality on tunes like the high-energy “Episode From A Village Dance“… a definitely Latin feel, but every bar is packed with original and inventive nuances from each of the players in the sextet… superb work here (I most STRONGLY recommend that you listen to this one with the headphones on; heck, you should really listen to ALL the songs that way, especially if you need to renew the “joy levels” in your life).
In addition to being a band-leader, Jemal is also a drum/percussion instructor and a band director in the Bay area… he’s played with many notable jazz folks… Eric Reed, Joshua Redman & Marcus Shelby, just to name a few… when you put all that experience and “real world” musical activity together, you hear real results, as on my personal favorite from the nineteen songs offered up for your jazz enjoyment… it’s the opener for the double-disc set, Jemal’s rendition of Freddie Hubbard’s “Latina“… each of the players SMOKES it on this track, folks!
Jemal and his players get a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.99. Keep your ears on this cat, people – there’s much more coming… in the meantime, read more about Jemal on his website. Rotcod Zzaj
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