Guested on a few recent records: Kyle Kidd, RA Washington & Jah Nada

Two new records I was fortunate to contribute to are seeing release this season: Soothsayer by Kyle Kidd and In Search of Our Father’s Gardens by RA Washington and Jah Nada. So much love for these folks. So much gratitude to be in this community of artists.

Soothsayer (2022) by Kyle Kidd

Kidd’s Soothsayer (American Dreams 2022) is a banger of a record suited for the club as much as for meditation: “an expansive rendering of life beyond the binary, balancing self-possession and self-preservation, the challenges of vulnerability and the redemptive possibilities of love — all in a half-hour.” I was lucky to contribute some flute and clarinet to the record.

Throughout Kidd’s debut solo album Soothsayer, Black history and artistic heritage are understood as living and breathing concepts, not static, commodified objects to be consigned to museums. Kidd’s musical memory quilt is alive and in constant flux as it draws from soul, gospel, R&B, hiphop, rock, and jazz to create miniatures that sound at once vintage and futuristic.

The Quietus:

Ra Washington and Jah Nada’s In Search of Our Father’s Gardens (Astral Spirits 2022) was a collaboration of friends near and far to produce a rather free, exploratory set. The conception of the double LP – which features members of Mourning [A] BLKstar, Oneida, and more – is that sides B & C were recorded and designed to be played separately and/or together (if you have two record players set up). I contributed some tenor and keyboards to “Bobbi Lynn.”

In Search of Our Father’s Gardens (2022) by RA Washington & Jah Nada

Side-long album closer, “Bobbi Lynn,” is a sprawling journey all on its own. Joined by Kid Millions on drums, the group weaves through moving organic corridors before transcending into the collective subconscious. Steel-infused rhythms steady the path, creating a solid, effusive backbone where everyone else finds their groove and takes off. Spectral horn serenades rain down glissando silhouettes on a jagged sea of piano chords and hallucinatory electronics. Shadows of spiritual jazz from an alternate reality bleed into the wistful atmosphere, buoyed by Washington’s soft, pointed vocals. Emotive basslines dance with introspective piano arrangements, asking questions with no answers, answered by formless incantations. 

When the epic aural treatise finally says goodnight, the stars have been rearranged, and a sacred recollection sparks new fires, new dreams. “Bobbi Lynn” is a saga of its own but also a microcosm of In Search of Our Father’s Garden. This incredible conjuring contains generations.

Foxy Digitals Review:

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