Ochion Jewell Quartet – Volk

No frills. Off the beaten path. Interesting. That is the blend of jazz with world folk music presented by the Ochion Jewell Quartet on Volk (2015).

Saxophonist and composer Jewell, whose first name is pronounced “Ocean,” has a compelling story to tell in the months that preceded this recording. He overcame a brutal beating at the hands of New York City police in a wrongful arrest. Using the resources acquired in an out-of-court settlement, he produced Volk. Accompanying him on this journey are Amino Belyamani, piano; Sam Minaie, bass; and Qasim Naqvi, drums. Guitarist Lionel Loueke sits in on two tracks.

The songs are grouped into four suites. “Kun Mun Kultani Tulisi” opens the second grouping. Jewell’s tenor begins with a gray, mournful melody. As the other musicians come in, the tone becomes stronger, more dramatic though a bit brighter. About halfway through, the others stop, and Jewell expresses softly, freely. Keyed by the drum rolls, the next stage is like an adventure, a trek through unknown territory wherein the music reacts to whatever the travelers encounter.

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