Chicago-based bassist and composer Junius Paul has come through with a brand new album titled Ism. The 17-track album is full of extravagant, frantic and innovative compositions that play as a jam session, that prove why he’s one of the most exciting jazz musicians out right now.
The album starts with the incredibly frantic and almost unsettling “You Are Free To Choose,” with a cacophonous composition full of keys, intense horn sections, bass and fast-paced drumming. It really sets the tone for what to come. The rest of the album doesn’t sound quite as hectic as that opener, but the spiritual nature of the tracks throughout is what makes it a captivating listen. The amazing bass solo on “Asé” is one of the highlights of the entire project, with an intricate composition complemented by fantastic drumming. “Baker’s Dozen” features a more heavy, hip-hop inspired beat, as it references the Baker’s Dozen series. “Spocky Chainsey Has Re-Emerged” is a 19-minute thriller, with incredible keys and horn sections throughout that are accompanied by drumming that brings energy and beauty to this track as a whole. “Paris” is another lengthy track, with incredible dynamic rhythms and drumming, accompanied by horns and heavy basslines that just dominate the groove of that track. The plucked string instrumentation on “Fred Anderson and a Half” is brilliant and captivating. “Ma and Dad” is more of a moody track, with slow paced bass and emotive strings throughout. Overall, the eclectic array of sounds and tempos throughout this album are what makes it so captivating, as Junius Paul along with his extremely talented band are able to craft an album that is instrumentally dense and wildly engaging. Ism is a great album indeed.
Listen to Junius Paul’s brand new project Ism below via Bandcamp and don’t forget to support! Released via International Anthem.