Javier Nero Jazz Orchestra – Kemet: The Black Land (ENG review)

Outside in Music – Street date June 23th 2023
World Jazz

This is the second recording by trombonist, composer, arranger, and educator Dr. Javier Nero, titled “Kemet: The Black Land,” featuring the Javier Nero Jazz Orchestra. The album meditates on Kemet, the ancient Egyptian Black civilization, highly advanced. Fascinated by this great society, a birthplace of higher education and a pillar of Western ideas and democracy, Nero presents his ambitious new work in the spirit of this prosperous land, often overlooked by history.
From the start, we are immersed in a delicious blend of funk and jazz with warm and inspiring orchestration that grabs hold of you and makes you want to dance. It’s a joyful, sun-soaked music with brass arrangements that at times may remind you of Earth, Wind & Fire, although the comparison ends there. For the rest, Javier Nero’s unique style is perfectly recognizable, with brass instruments being his preferred mode of expression. They are the ones that tell you the story of Kemet: The Black Land.
Nero discovered Kemet through his two older brothers. The idea of an advanced civilization of Black people fascinated them. This notion challenged the traditional American narrative about Africans, a conversation that all too often revolves around the transatlantic slave trade. Through the album “Kemet,” Nero redirects listeners’ attention from narrow Western conceptions to a richer and more glorious part of history, going back many millennia to reimagine a place where freedom of expression and collaboration were fundamental approaches to flourishing life.
The intellectualization of this narrative, translated through the musical composition, which is this work, works wonderfully. This composer and trombonist offer us a work that is just as significant as Anthony Branker’s, albeit in a naturally very different form. It is a true delight from start to finish, taking us through landscapes and scenes, playing phonically with our imagination.
Nero states, “When I think of Kemet, I see lush landscapes of golden sand, immense structures, vegetation, rivers, and people living, eating, and playing music harmoniously together. Kemet represents the beauty that humanity is capable of through the free and uninhibited exchange of ideas and information. This album represents my family, my experience, and my musical influences. My African, European, Native, and Hispanic roots, as well as a part of that inexplicable human experience we all share. I now offer you the summary of those experiences in music.”
So let yourself be carried away on this adventure, which you will find hard to leave because this album is particularly endearing. Both Paris-Move and Bayou Blue Radio have classified this album as “essential.”

Thierry De Clemensat
Correspondent in USA
Bayou Blue News – Bayou Blue Radio – Paris-Move

PARIS-MOVE, June 5th 2023


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