Reseña de álbum
To find out where Stacy Dillard is coming from, the root of his compositions and what he wants to articulate through his beefy tenor saxophone, one could begin with the cPhyve liner notes, which begin: "Being a black man, it is in my nature to be free in mind and spirit." At the end he admonishes, "Study the TRUTH, my people." These two sentiments bookend references to Willie Lynch and historic and institutional racism aimed at those of African ancestry. It's clear, then, that this is a young man with weighty issues on his mind and in his music, and the length he takes to ensure its integrity is its manifestation. Back in the '70s, legends like Joe Henderson entitled albums Power to the People and McCoy Tyner penned Afrocentric songs such as "Sahara"; the '80s saw a "take back the music campaign" led by artists like Wynton Marsalis, whose album Black Codes from the Underground was a classic line in the sand aimed at the watery fusion of the late '70s. Perhaps the most conspicuous indication of Dillard's quest to stay free is not in an album or song title, but the name of his label, MIH Records. The "MIH" standing for "Make It Happen," a new age hustler's motto; and it might be the new version "knowledge of self," long a central theme with many of the leading black jazz musicians. The "c" in cPhyve is a carryover from his band's previous name, the Collective ("Phyve," Dillard admits, is just a hipper way to spell "five" and using a lower case "c" gives it the look of an exponent, which also looks more hip.) That collective — drummer Jeremy Clemons, fellow tenor JD Allen, bassist Ameen Saleem, and pianist Ryan Weaver — has been playing together for close to five years. Like a growing number of their peers (Dave Douglass, Marcus Strickland), artistic freedom in jazz's climate means independence — a page many have taken out of the late-'90s new millennium book of hip-hop economics. The music found on cPhyve, much like the group's other effort (Elite State of Mind), is a well-written, contemporary-but-still-grounded-in-the-tradition string of tunes penned with egalitarian distribution (four of the five members get writing credit). It's a fine blend of old and new, whether it be "Groove" with its contemporary bounce mixed with throwback hard bop solos, or the 13-minute "Phyve Suite," which opens with a Billy Harper-esque dirge only to melt into a quaint slow tempo tune built to exist atop the silverware clatter and low chatter of today's jazz clubs. Stacy Dillard and friends know what they want and where they're going and it shows on cPhyve, a well-directed articulation from a promising new voice.