Seventh Sun: Seventh Sun

High-energy debut from US alto saxophonist improbably mentored by Wynton Marsalis updates bebop, Jaco Pastorius and Whitney Houston

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Seventh Sun is described as a fresh saxophone player (his mentor is Wynton Marsalis) but his music immediately throws you off balance. Instead of announcing himself with a sax solo or clever lick, he begins his debut album with an upbeat bebop tune led by a vocalist.

He appears to understand the breadth of jazz and being part of a band, saving moments of power or presence for when the music requires it. It’s a great skill to have and it shines through the six-track album, leaving you wanting to hear more.

We move through original compositions but stop off at Joe Henderson’s classic Black Narcissus and Roy Hargrove’s Mental Phrasing before another left-field choice in Whitney Houston’s Saving All My Love For You (on which I found the sax to be a little abrupt in parts). But it isn’t until Black Eastern Warrior that we experience the wall of sound these musicians are capable of.

The album is sleek, smooth and has the vibe of Kamasi Washington about it. It feels experimental, adventurous (Temples And Pyramids is a Jaco-style bass track) and has energy to spare. At times it can feel a little disjointed – the number of players on the album possibly hints at the album being pulled together from a series of recording sessions – but it’s refreshing to hear an album that is determined to be progressive in its production and sound. This is jazz for now from an artist who, on this evidence, has more to offer.

Discography
Woman Of My Forever After; Temples And Pyramids; Black Narcissus; Saving All My Love For You; Black Eastern Warrior; Mental Phrasing; Peace Of Yahweh (31.10)
Collectively, Seventh Sun (as); Christian Napolean (d); Miles Lennox, JT Ho-Mueller, Jonathan Paik, Domas Zeromskas, Jesus Molina (p); Sam Smith, Ethan Marsh, Ciara Moser, William Mabuza (b); Jazzmeia Horn, Dyce J Stephens (v); Jesse Tait, Bobby Hall III (kyb); Chris Hanford II, Amaury Cabral (g); Jeremy Pelt (t); Kwasi Stampley (mc).
Seventh Sun Records