Artist: Jean Carne, Adrian Younge, Ali Shaheed Muhammad
Album: Jean Carne JID012
01. Come As You Are
02. People of The Sun
04. My Mystic Life
05. The Summertime
06. Black Rainbows
07. Black Love
Series one of Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad’s Jazz Is Dead concept extended seven albums of original material recorded with elder mavericks across the fields of jazz, R&B, and MPB. Younge and Muhammad continue by launching series two with Jean Carne, who in the early ’70s made prized soul-jazz LPs with then-husband and JID005 featured musician Doug Carn before she diversified as a top-flight session vocalist and Philadelphia International solo R&B artist. (Coincidentally, she often crossed paths with JID006 co-leader Gary Bartz and occasionally worked with JID002 guest Roy Ayers.) JID012 is Carne’s first album of original material in decades.
She co-wrote all seven songs. Younge and Muhammad customarily write and produce with the latter on electric bass and the former on almost everything but the drums, supplied this time in driving style with great intricacy and minimal flash by Mekala Session (director of the Pan-Afrikan Peoples Arkestra, the cross-generational ensemble founded by Horace Tapscott). Those familiar with other Jazz Is Dead volumes won’t be surprised by the all-analog, late-’60s/early-’70s foundation laid by the hosts, still generating muscular grooves that twist into unpredictable shapes and emanate a broad spectrum of colors from Younge’s battery of keyboards (Hammond B-3 organ, Fender Rhodes, Clavinet, Mellotron, monophonic synthesizers). In fact, opener “Come as You Are” is as tough as anything from the first series.
It’s introduced by a rumbling Muhammad bassline that repeatedly pauses but doesn’t slacken when it returns, and Younge’s alto sax interjections add a touch of menace. Carne brings the light, making like a flute as she scats before her sweetly welcoming recitation of the title. The other pieces likewise play out like an imagined Carne solo date circa 1974 or so, when the singer was gracing albums like Norman Connors’ Slewfoot and Azar Lawrence’s Bridge Into the New Age.
Granted, her voice is tangier now, more ringing, gliding more often than swooping and ascending, yet the off-the-cuff quality of the vocals, along with the lyrics — the song titles are indicative — evoke the period as much as the playing and recording methodology. Carne could use a little more space to do her thing; Younge, Muhammad, and company are nothing if not active. Even so, this is a treat for any Carne fan, especially those who have longed for the singer to make an album of all-new songs with a fixed crew.