If you read this blog on the regular, you know my steez. I’m all about the old, but you know, sometimes you need to give props to the new. This record came through to me via Brownswood Recordings. The name may or may not mean much to you, but to me, Brownswood means two things: Gilles Peterson. The globe trotting London based tastemaker and DJ of all that is Soulful has always got his hand into something. His independent label cuts no corners when putting out records. They’re Soulful no matter what genre, and are quite unique in today’s sea of rubbish you have to wade in before you can catch a wave of good stuff.
Brooklyn piano player and composer Elan Mehler has released a gem of a follow up to his acclaimed Scheme of Thought Lp from 2007 in The After Suite on Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings. Discovered by Peterson in a small Swiss village playing piano, Mehler released a demo, then Scheme, now this. All About Jazz calls it “A masterpiece with a capital M.” They aren’t too far off with that summation. I had to listen to it two times in a row, because when it came in the Post, it was raining. I figured what the hell, this moody, atmospheric LP went right along with what was swirling outside, and I needed to rest my weary body before a DJ gig. I could have listened to it a third time easily. Mehler has expanded on his line up a bit from his last effort by adding a drummer (Max Goldman). His band on Suite includes Jeremy Viner (tenor sax), Scott Spivak (Fender Rhodes), Tod Hendrick (Bass) Mehler (on piano), and Becca Stevens and Adam McBride-Smith taking vocal turns on roughly eight of the eleven tracks. This record is as large as the 6 foot 8 inch Mehler is in real life, as he sculps his songs sort of like a guy heading his way down court. I know that 6’8″ is not always point guard material, but Mehler handles that role really well. Like I said, on a whole, it’s a great record, and whether Stevens and McBride Smith are chipping in on vocals or it’s just Elan and the band putting together magic, as Modern Jazz goes, I feel it’s as good as it gets. If I had dug this record up and it was recorded in 1975, I’d have the same feelings. The songs collectively have Soul, and dance away like the rain danced on my loft windows the first time I put it on. I’m partial, if I may say, to Tracks 5 (The After Suite Part 2), Track 8 (Notom Road), and Track 9 (I Dream a Highway, a song written by Alt-Country singer Gillian Welch and David Rawlings). Many of you may not know of Elan Mehler. In the past he’s had much more success in Europe than here in the States (isn’t that always the case?), but you will know him now. Lots of different music has Soul. Elan Mehler has Soul, give him a try. Keep Diggin’!
Download or Listen to Elan Mehler – The New Breed (featuring Adam McBride-Smith on vocals) from the Brownswood Records release The After Suite
I’m on my third listen. Perfect Sunday morning music. Thanks for posting.
This album is a mesh of soulful, soulful sounds – interspersed with a touch a melancholy.
Diggin it many times over 🙂