7 Songs, 40 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

New Zealand-born pianist Mark de Clive-Lowe came up in the late ’90s as a key member of London’s broken-beat scene: His playful, melodic style made an indelible mark on records from 4Hero, Bugz in the Attic, and other players in that tight-knit corner of the dance-music community. But on Heritage, he moves away from funk and toward a quieter, more contemplative strain of jazz. The title’s a nod not only to his musical roots but also to his half-Japanese background. Following “The Offering,” a bright-eyed tune in which flute and piano move above a steady bass-and-drums groove with a kind of meditative grace, the album’s remaining six tracks each offer snapshots of a different place or theme. “Bushidō 1” pays tribute to the samurai code of honor with a noirish modal melody and driving groove; the stately, idyllic “Memories of Nanzenji” summons memories of Kyoto’s famous temple; “Mizugaki” evokes mountainous crags in saxophonist Josh Johnson’s jagged improvisations. Throughout, de Clive-Lowe’s players (which also include saxophonist Teodross Avery, bassist Brandon Eugene Owens, percussionist Carlos Niño, and drummer Brandon Combs) move like a well-oiled machine, and it’s a treat to hear his own playing unfold against such a fluid backdrop, a world away from the beats and breaks of his early work. But the album’s standout, “Akatombo,” shines a spotlight on de Clive-Lowe alone: His setting of the popular Japanese children’s song is the perfect opportunity for his intuitive chordal sensibility to shine, making the tune seem both timeless and placeless, in the best way.

EDITORS’ NOTES

New Zealand-born pianist Mark de Clive-Lowe came up in the late ’90s as a key member of London’s broken-beat scene: His playful, melodic style made an indelible mark on records from 4Hero, Bugz in the Attic, and other players in that tight-knit corner of the dance-music community. But on Heritage, he moves away from funk and toward a quieter, more contemplative strain of jazz. The title’s a nod not only to his musical roots but also to his half-Japanese background. Following “The Offering,” a bright-eyed tune in which flute and piano move above a steady bass-and-drums groove with a kind of meditative grace, the album’s remaining six tracks each offer snapshots of a different place or theme. “Bushidō 1” pays tribute to the samurai code of honor with a noirish modal melody and driving groove; the stately, idyllic “Memories of Nanzenji” summons memories of Kyoto’s famous temple; “Mizugaki” evokes mountainous crags in saxophonist Josh Johnson’s jagged improvisations. Throughout, de Clive-Lowe’s players (which also include saxophonist Teodross Avery, bassist Brandon Eugene Owens, percussionist Carlos Niño, and drummer Brandon Combs) move like a well-oiled machine, and it’s a treat to hear his own playing unfold against such a fluid backdrop, a world away from the beats and breaks of his early work. But the album’s standout, “Akatombo,” shines a spotlight on de Clive-Lowe alone: His setting of the popular Japanese children’s song is the perfect opportunity for his intuitive chordal sensibility to shine, making the tune seem both timeless and placeless, in the best way.

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