Jacob Young, David Rothenberg, Sidiki Camara: They Say Humans Exist

In brief:
"...however I struggle to categorise this album there is no escaping the fact that the music is quite magical"

Not for the first time in reviewing a CD have I scratched my head when trying to categorise the music I am listening to. When CDs are sent for review to Jazz Journal I half expect (naively perhaps) some association with jazz. But that isn’t always the case.

They Say Humans Exists comes closest to jazz in the way David Rothenberg plays clarinet in an uninhibited and lyrical style. The tracks – Supernatural Roadtrip and Soundtrack Lost – are good examples of this. But then the numerous percussion instruments of Sidiki Camara and the playing of the guitalele (a cross between the guitar and ukulele) by Jacob Young transport me to another genre and even another world.


There is, without doubt, more world music about this album than jazz and there is no doubt that the dominant musical influence is West African. Yet, however I struggle to categorise this album there is no escaping the fact that the music is quite magical. It has a delicate, ethereal and cinematic quality to it whilst at the same time always sounding playful and optimistic. The musicianship is impeccable, and the end result provides a rich and rewarding listening experience.

Highly recommended if musical boundaries do not inhibit you.

Find out more about Jacob Young, David Rothenberg, Sidiki Camara: They Say Humans Exist at

Supernatural Roadtrip; Thank You My People (Kaou Barikada); Tactile Memory; Calling People To The Music (Ayou Wele); The North (Koron Fe); Out of Dream; Soundtrack Lost; Blood Horizon (33.06)
Young (g); Rothenberg (cl, bcl, f); Camara (pc, v). Blueberry Fields Studio, Oslo 17-18 June 2019.
Oslo Sessions Recordings OSR007

Latest audio reviews


More from this author


Jazz Journal articles by month


Harry Connick, Jr: True Love: A Celebration Of Cole Porter

Cole Porter supplied about one fifth of The Great American Songbook whilst lesser writers made do with a chapter, a page, or merely a...

Obituary: Keith Tippett

When Hazel Miller phoned me on Sunday to say that Keith Tippett had died, I felt it was like the end of an era;...

Lee Ritenour, jazz man for all sessions

Recovering from a 2018 fire that destroyed a hundred instruments, the LA guitarist gives fascinating insights into the studio world, including work with Dave Grusin, Steely Dan and Pink Floyd, as well as dubbing for George Benson

Pianos, Toys, Music And Noise – Conversations With Steve Beresford

Steve Beresford has throughout his adult life cheerfully ignored the boundaries marked and the walls erected around musical types, but irking purists, always a...

Willie Dixon: I Am The Blues

This is a live studio performance by a group of mainly veteran Chicago bluesmen led by Leonard "Baby Doo" Caston and fronted by Willie...

JJ 12/59: Joe Harriott – Blue Harriott

An excellent local record. It is my guess that it stands a very good chance of featuring in next year's list of poll choices....