TAKE one of the finest and most intuitive leftfield jazz rhythm sections of past decades, Chicago drummer Chad Taylor and bassist Joshua Abrams, who between them amass waay over a couple hundred performance credits to their name on Discogs for artists such as the Chicago Underground Trio and all its various spiralling iterations, Brokeback, Sam Prekop’s beautiful self-titled set and Who’s Your New Professor?, Jeff Parker, Rob Mazurek, Marc Ribot, Iron & Wine, The Roots, Edith Frost, Godspeed, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy (and breathe); let them loose together with that almost supernatural understanding they have and an esoteric collection of instrumentation more usually associated with world music than the jazz/experimental/indie that they often flower from; hit record.
Result: maintenance for a frazzled mind.
Such is the pair’s latest incarnation, Mind Maintenance, which on this first, beguiling and exploratory single drop, sees Joshua and Chad exploring the respective melodic and percussive possibilities of the guimbri, a three-stringed Moroccan bass usually found in that nation’s traditional gnawa musical tradition; and the mbira, the chiming, African thumb piano family of instruments that herein Chad wields as a percussive-melodic delight.
It is sorta world music, it is definitely sorta jazz, it’s also pretty much a rootsy ambient; it’s really rather cool and transporting, refusing easy categorisation in the absolute best way – oh, apart from being rather great.
Chad and Joshua sought refuge from the current mindmelt of the world in their considerable musical chops, and emerged with Mind Maintenance. They invite you to come take sanctuary with them in what looks to be a rather fine and thoughtful record.
Mind Maintenance’s self-titled album will be released by Drag City on June 11th digitally and on vinyl; hey, you can make financial arrangements to secure your copy now over at the label shop and at Bandcamp.