Ulysses Owens Jr. and Generation Y – A New Beat (ENG review)

Cellar Music Group – Available
Ulysses Owens Jr. and Generation Y - A New Beat

This album was released on January 19, but the number of albums currently being released has caused us to fall behind a bit…
Generation Y is just to point out that the group, accompanied by a multitude of young talents who will likely carve their names in golden letters on the jazz of tomorrow, is led by Ulysses Owens Jr. Acclaimed by the New York Times, Rolling Stone, DownBeat, and others for his impactful work as a conductor and recognized as a vital force alongside legends such as Kurt Elling, Wynton Marsalis, and Christian McBride, Grammy-winning Owens Jr. has rapidly transitioned from a “young lion” to a seasoned mentor. As his career as a world-class musician has flourished, his impact on music education has also grown, marked by a teaching position at the Juilliard School, now in its seventh year.
There is an almost free jazz aspect in Ulysses Owens Junior’s music, wrapped in a more classical and perfectly assumed form. Generation Y has likely been influenced by American pop, rap, R&B, and other musical forms because, as all roads lead to today’s jazz, the energy emanating from some tracks on this album is particularly invigorating. Ulysses Owens Jr.’s Generation Y, and ultimately “A New Beat,” originates from a seemingly simple question posed by the drummer’s manager, Myles Weinstein: “Ulysses, who makes you happy when you play? Who do you want to be on stage with?” Ulysses Owens invests in youth, or rather the youths of today and tomorrow. He declares, “It’s an initiative that will last throughout my career because there will always be young energy and talent in need of mentorship and guidance,” says Owens Jr. “It just fits into my path and journey because that’s how I was introduced to the industry, by mentors.” Giving back, giving others a chance—the principle is beautiful, and the result is there, music that shines like champagne bubbles in the glow of candles.
Musically, this album has been strongly influenced by the death of Owens Jr.’s main mentor, Mulgrew Miller, and one of his great inspirations, Roy Hargrove. Owens Jr. first met Hargrove during a tour with Christian McBride, and the conviction, soul, and emotion that permeated Hargrove’s music and his band left a lasting impression on Owens Jr. “I feel that since Hargrove’s departure, there has been a void on the scene,” says Owens Jr.
And that’s probably what makes this album so endearing, filled with humanism, joy, and hope—everything that Bayou Blue Radio and Paris-Move publications highly respect, placing albums like this in the “Essential” pile.

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

PARIS-MOVE, January 22nd 2024


To buy this album