Andromeda Turre – From The Earth (ENG review)

Street date July 26th 2024
Andromeda Turre - From The Earth

Those of you who listen to the show “Real Jazz” on Sirius XM already know this artist who hosts the show; she is also the daughter of trombonist Steve Turre, whom I was telling you about recently here. In this family, talents evidently add up. “From The Earth” can almost be taken as an Opera-Jazz, as both the musical and vocal compositions take us far into a cultural sphere that requires as much knowledge of classical music as of jazz. Turre possesses a deep mastery of the stage thanks to her career in theater, as an acclaimed composer and supervisor for “Lena: Lessons From A Lady” and Aquila Theater’s adaptation of “The Great Gatsby,” as well as in music, from her time with greats like Ray Charles and her own experiences headlining festivals in 17 countries.

An artist of her time, Andromeda Turre presents here a unique work, connected to a community disproportionately affected by climate change and reflecting its respective biosphere. Enriched by recorded interviews with leaders of these marginalized communities, this poignant and creative contemporary jazz suite is a compelling call to action and continues the long tradition of using jazz as a tool for activism. “Merging my art with my experience as a community organizer and certified diversity and inclusion consultant from Cornell University, I created ‘From The Earth’ as an invitation for listeners to engage more deeply and create change,” comments Turre.

To be honest, it’s been a long time since I’ve encountered a work of this style; one probably has to go back to the 70s and the English band Yes in their various musical journeys, and mix them with a Pink Floyd album like “More” to achieve such a result. However, here the musical writing is far from show business. One only needs to focus on the musical writing for the string instruments and the vocal work to realize that it far exceeds anything we’ve heard before. The seeds of the idea for “From The Earth” took root in December 2022 when Turre was on an excursion in Iceland. Completely immersed in nature, the world around her was powerful and almost primitive in its raw elemental state. “Experiencing the aurora borealis dancing in the sky, the violence of the crashing sea waves, the lava creating new land, and the wonder of being engulfed in a glacier all revealed a deep connection with the earth,” says Turre. “This connection came home with me and remained attached to my curiosity and creativity.” This enveloping presence of nature led Turre to see the concept of Earth through the prism of the manifestations of its beauty and power she saw on this trip: Earth, Sky, Sea, and Ice. These four biospheres serve as a framing device for “From The Earth,” each comprising several movements allowing for expansive exploration of themes and evoking rich sound imagery.

Evidently, this work is tailored for the stage, primarily for theater, where one can easily imagine the concert unfolding with parts played by actors and dancers. The album sounds like a live performance, letting our imagination run free. “From The Earth” features Andromeda Turre (vocals, piano, crystal bowls, bell tree), Chelsea Baratz (saxophones, EWI), Chien Chien Lu (marimba, vibraphone), Jacquelene Acevedo (percussion), Riza Printup (harp), M’elle (backup vocals and choir), Akua Dixon, Lulu Fontan, Catherine Asaad, Terrell Foster-James (choir), Steve Turre (trombone, shells), ELEW (piano), Richie Goods (electric and acoustic bass), Gene Lake (drums), Harold E. Smith (didgeridoo), and Betty Neals (poetry). The interviewees on the album include experts Dr. Jifunza Wright-Carter, Ms. Margaret Gordon, Dr. Gladys M. Canals, and Rhonda Hiscock.

This album is also perfect to listen to on CD, as both the compositions and arrangements are impressively and gracefully executed, offering comfort even though the subjects treated are not cheerful. It is a very aesthetic and pleasant work to listen to. To say that this album is one of our “Essentials” is a step I am willing to take.

Thierry De Clemensat
USA correspondent – Paris-Move and ABS magazine
Editor in chief Bayou Blue Radio, Bayou Blue News

PARIS-MOVE, July 7th 2024

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