Tenderlonious The Shakedown featuring The 22archestra

Tenderlonious The Shakedown featuring The 22archestra
8
To be clear, Ed "Tenderlonious" Cawthorne is at the front of this exceptional new band called the 22archestra. But his drummer Yussef Dayes' former association with Yussef Kamaal is a useful reference in explaining where Tenderlonious is coming from.
 
This is pure, soulful electric jazz: the kind Herbie Hancock used to make; the kind that has returned to prominence in the capable hands of acts like August Greene and the aforementioned Yussef Kamaal. Tenderlonious's performances on flute and synthesizer are near-heroic, but he never dominates the mix. This is an ensemble in the best sense of the term, seven players pushing one another deeper with each cut.
 
In addition to Tenderlonious and Daves, we get Hamish Balfour on keys, Fergus Ireland on bass and three percussionists: Jeen Bassa, Reggie Omas and Konrad.
 
The Sun Ra nod (archestra, in place of arkestra) is a nice touch, but this work is far more grounded than the Space Man's oeuvre. The beats are tight and often complex — too funky to be downbeat — and the combination of Tenderlonious's Stevie Wonder synths with Ireland's thumping bass is going to set heads nodding all over the world.
 
The 22archestra have come screaming out of the gates with this debut, which took just eight hours to record. If their live show is anything close to what's on this disc, they are not to be missed. (Independent)