(2020 - Nightnote Records - USA)
With an airy partly exotic soundtrack flavor, feathered in with ECM reflections and organic relaxed world music, this quartet led by Seth Ford-Young (acoustic bass) presents a 45:42 platter of 6 songs that keep a calm about them. All titles are composed by Seth except 'Drum Talk' (this track is exclusive to the compact disc and not on the vinyl edition- which is thumbs up for this listener) which was put together by Seth, Sylvain Carton (baritone sax, tenor sax, flute, alto flute, bass clarinet) and Josh Collazo (drums). The 4th member of this all instrumental quietly unassuming group is Mitchell Yoshida (Wurlitzer 200A). 'The Cradle' is produced, recorded, and mixed by Seth Ford-Young and stands as the debut by this ensemble. Both Josh and Mitchell were bandmates of Seth's in Edward Sharpe (more known to most as Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros - Los Angeles alt/indie/folk band). Seth also has a long list of previous credits such as sessions and touring with Tom Waits, Beat Antique, John Vanderslice, The California Honeydrops, and many more. He has also issued two solos, one film score, and sat in as co-producer with Gill Landry’s 'Skeleton at the Banquet' album. Believe it or not, Seth started out as lead singer of a punk band called Initial Reaction, which played many classic punk clubs around Washington DC. His long journey extends to Los Angeles with Phi-Psonics, quite a long way from the punk days of DC.
If you are looking for fast and furious jazz fusion, look the opposite direction. This is slow cooked until tender music, with what could be even described in some cases as slow-core diner jazz, even a Klezmer tune, and various tasty chilled out dishes. I even caught a bit of Canterbury styling. Fans of 70's meditational jazz will love this. Even the ones who relish the sparse and peaceful pieces by artists like Eberhard Weber and Jan Garbarek, and even bands like Shadowfax (when they went low key). There is no denying the charm and beauty in 'The Cradle'. The delicate and simple arrangements are what makes the whole atmosphere of the recording special. No individual showcasing, no flashy solos, and nothing out of balance. Just nice and gentle musical passages that will allow the listener to unwind after a hard day. Perhaps not the disc to play to get your day started, and surely not for parties, but for meditation, healing, and mental massage, this is wonderful. If you let yourself drift along into the music with a deep listen, you may find paradise.
©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 4 - 6 - 2020