Release Date: October 5th, 2018
Label: Shifting Paradigm Records
Mestizo, Levine’s sophomore release as a leader, debuts his new trio project, which features Matt Gold on guitar and Andrew Green on drums. This seven-track collection of originals - each penned by the Chicago-based musician - celebrates both his musical and cultural identity. By intertwining both, Levine has developed himself into a musician who, from the get-go, displays an open and accepting approach to varying and dynamic musical opportunities.
Growing up with a Filipino mother and a Jewish father, the Jersey-native truly identifies with the term “Mestizo”. Primarily used in Latin America and the Philippines to describe someone of mixed race, “Mestizo” assumes it’s own identity and means more to those who embody it than the sum of its parts, explains Levine. Mestizo/Mestiza people have their own unique experiences, cultures, opinion and appearances. With this term lending itself to the title of the album, the music heard on Mestizo perfectly mirrors Levine’s dynamic cultural background.
While the title track attempts to represent Levine’s wide-spanning cultural upbringing through rhythmic inflections, “Little Shells” is a reflection upon the sounds and rhythms present on water - specifically the water of the Atlantic ocean which Levine lived close to in Miami, before moving to Chicago. Waves crashing on the water are always happening in different intervals, at different spots and create something more complicated than meets the eye. The combination of the brass bells, guitar and bass on this track weave something that is relaxing in sound, yet at the same time retains a certain complexity. “The Best Things Never Change” evokes a real feeling of nostalgia for Levine. With a slow, bittersweet melody, this track recalls a reunion with an old friend and highlights the fact that even though both have grown older, the intangible things that blossomed the friendship in the first place remains. Another stand-out track from the album is “Highways” - a fun song about road trips! With a groove that pays homage to Ahmad Jamal's "Poinciana", Levine wrote this track on the road while moving from Miami to Chicago.
By maintaining an open mind to both cultural and musical experiences, Levine has developed a unique ability to create grooves and sounds that reflect all of the experiences he has encountered while performing with musicians from all over the world. As a result, a blend of jazz, rock and World music defines and shapes Mestizo.
“This album is a record of all of the wonderful people I have met and places I have been in the last two years.”
MORE ABOUT EVAN SALVACION LEVINE
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"Working through seven originals by the Chicago-based leader, the participants register less as a group of three individuals and more a symbiotic multi-limbed organism equally adept at executing material ferocious and lyrical." Read the full review here.
"A bass trio hits some dandy modern jazz notes with a lightly angular set that's not too left leaning and keeps it's instrumental prowess right up front." Read the full review here.
BIRD IS THE WORM
"Pointed melodies are delivered with a casualness that almost belies their sharp precision. That alone is pretty compelling, but the charm of the recording radiates from the rich rhythmic dialog the trio develops along the way." Read the full review here.
"Levine chimes on the percussive “Little Shells” and the team gets delicate for “Opposing Forces” and reflective for “The Best Things Never Change.” Patient portraits." Read the full review here.