New York jazz ensemble Onyx Collective recently delivered the first part of their three projects (two EPs and an LP) via Big Dada.
Titled ‘Lower East Suite’, the recordings that make up the releases are taken from the band’s performances over the past year. Wheather it is storefronts, bars, or street corners they act as both venues and studios for the collective. Many of the highly atmospheric songs from ‘Lower East Suite Part One’ take their names from the addresses where they were recorded: ‘172 Forsyth St’, ‘175 Canal St’, and ‘Market St’.
In a statement bandleader, saxophonist and sometimes vocalist, Isaiah Barr wrote about how the big apple is the glue that holds the band together: “New York’s role in Onyx Collective is everything. The names of people, the places, the street corners here are so legendary and historically prominent – it leaves a roadmap that we can walk through and a story for us to follow.”
Across its eight songs, the group cut loose with sublime improvised arrangements that cram many different textures and ideas into just over seventeen minutes of music.
Standout tracks include the ambrosial ‘East River’ and ‘Fruit Stand’. Elsewhere ‘Mambo Pancakes’ and ‘The Mask’ pick up the pace with some searching free-flowing grooves.
If you like your jazz spacious and airy, this album is for you. Keep an eye on this group they’re going places.