Avery Sharpe / Double Quartet – I Am My Neighbors Keeper

JKNM Records – Street Date June 10th 2024
Avery Sharpe / Double Quartet - I Am My Neighbors Keeper

An album by a double bassist that breaks from tradition by borrowing from various musical genres to offer us a work made of original compositions forming a sort of symphonic jazz. It must be said that this musician has a solid career behind him. Avery Sharpe has recorded and played with many great names in jazz, from Dizzy Gillespie to Yusef Lateef. He had an illustrious career of over 20 years with the legendary jazz pianist McCoy Tyner, with whom he recorded more than 25 albums and gave countless concerts around the world.

Listening to Avery Sharpe solo or enjoying the depth of his compositions is a true delight for connoisseurs. Rather than sticking to more classical compositions, here the double bassist draws his inspiration from various folklores and classical music, all united in a jazz form where he has succeeded in leaving his mark thanks to his unique expertise. At the forefront are his socio-political concerns, with this new work highlighting our commitment to one another. Avery initiated this project in response to the increased political and racial division in the country over the past eight years.

“The political climate in the United States has changed dramatically over the past 40 years, especially in the last eight years. During this era of greed, which Sharpe calls “JAI” (I’ve Got Mine), basic human compassion has been eroded. Racial, economic, and social progress is being reversed.”

In this regard, Avery Sharpe shares the same observation as the editorial team at Bayou Blue Radio: it’s hard to do otherwise. Art is a form of engagement, and only those who have something grand and profound to claim, who possess great culture and high values, know how to extract the very essence of their reflection to create a quality work like this one.

“We have food insecurity, homelessness, pandemics, school shootings, domestic violence, and an opioid problem, to name just a few. It is necessary to remind people that each of us is here on this planet for a very short time. Whether one has a religious or secular approach, it all comes down to concern and compassion for others. Through these compositions and recordings, Avery’s mission as an artist is to remind us that we are all interconnected and that ‘We Are Our Neighbor’s Keeper.’ When we help to uplift one person, we uplift everyone,” Sharpe said.

With these deeply meaningful words, we can only agree. Raising awareness is the essence of art, and nowadays, too often we call art or artists those who do nothing but exhibit their vulgarity or the emptiness of their souls. “I Am My Neighbor’s Keeper” speaks to everyone. Each movement of the piece describes the values we should strive for to help each other. Many of Sharpe’s projects and recordings have focused on “standing on the shoulders of ancestors, heroes, and heroines.” Among his recordings and projects are “Running Man” (celebrating athlete Jesse Owens), “Ain’t I A Woman” (about Sojourner Truth), and his most recent project “400: An African American Musical Portrait” (marking the 400 years from 1619 to 2019 of Africans and African Americans on the continent of the United States).

So, are you ready for one of those magnificent albums we deem “Indispensable” for 2024?

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

PARIS-MOVE, May 25th 2024

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