Billy Fox’s Blackbirds and Bullets
Arei Sekiguchi (d), Billy Fox (mar), Evan Mazunik (ky), Gary Pickard (ss), James Ilgenfritz (b), Julianne Carney (v), Matt Parker (ts), Miki Hirose (t),
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If Billy Fox’s previous releases had the classical format of the suite, this new album is presented, simply, as a collection of sweets (“Dulces”). Again, the percussionist adopts the role of composer and director. Although only one track is an arrangement of a piece by India’s Rabindranath Tagore, his influence is felt everywhere. The creator of Rabindra Sangeet, the name given to Tagore’s patrimony of 2000 songs, is quoted in the booklet: “I am proud of my humanity when I can acknowledge the poets and artists of other countries as my own.” This message is conveyed by the music inside: In “Dulces” we can detect idiomatic elements of South Asian, Middle Eastern and African musics, through the filter of a jazz ensemble. This is “jazz for the heart and hips,” says Fox. In “Dulces,” familiar situations are mixed with surprising developments, and the music is simultaneously accessible and defiant.