Street Date: August 16, 2019
Collusion, out August 16th on Bubble Bath Records, marks the return of New Orleans-bred ensemble The Session. This group of four consummate musicians: bassist Jasen Weaver, trumpeter Steven Lands, pianist Andrew Mcgowan, and drummer Darrian Douglas first shared the bandstand performing in Jason Marsalis’ Vibes Quartet. Developing a synergy as a quartet, and a very singular sound filled with adventure, intrigue and honesty, the group has been performing together ever since. In this upcoming release, the Session digs deep and creates an album filled with politically-fueled reflections on our country’s current climate, without sacrificing one iota of groove or melodic invention. Collusion is a protest album at heart, but it is not limited by this focus— these compositions reflect the individual development of each of the four members of the band. As Douglas recounts, “Our first two records were not political in nature. When we created those records, the world was different, and so were we.”
On Collusion, the ensemble reunites after a brief hiatus to deliver their passionate sentiments about the state of our union. Says the band, “We have now reconvened to speak our truth and hopefully shed some light along the way. This album protests our current leadership’s unethical actions, but it also demonstrates the group’s tremendous range, and instrumental prowess. Famed drummer E.J Strickland cites The Session’s strength as their ability to dive into a sensitive soundscape, use space, and really groove! Steven Lands’ unwaveringly supple horn lines glide atop the solid foundation created by the steadfast rhythm section of Mcgowan, Douglas and Weaver.
Tracks such as “Kelly Ann Con Artist”, and “Bigly” cut to the core of the intent behind this dynamic work. “Kelly Ann”, composed by Jasen Weaver, protests lies and manipulation on the part of Senior Counselor to the President, Kellyanne Conway. E.J Strickland notes that “The theme of “Kelly Ann Con Artist” seems to embody the same playful manipulation found in a lot of today’s political pundits and their spin on the otherwise obvious reality of our societal issues.” Named after the infamous Donald Trump quote, “Bigly”, a bouncy and boisterous swing tune, seems to characterize its humorous title and features a standout solo by bassist Weaver.
“Monk Dancing on the Levee”, is a lighthearted tune that merges the quirkiness of Thelonious Monk and the jovial spirit of New Orleans. Volleying between sections of syncopated hits and a driving swing, one can hear the influence of Monk’s unique sound on this recording. The stunning interplay between pianist Mcgowan and bassist Weaver during the bass solo is worth noting. “The Return of The Session” is a gorgeous waltz which builds into a mesmerizing ostinato in the rhythm section. This track serves to inform audiences that “The Session” is back in full force. Fittingly, this track showcases the instrumental facility of each member of the group, Mcgowan’s comping chops shining on Lands’ solo, and Weaver and Douglas’ tight groove and sense of dynamics tying the composition together.
Douglas notes “When people listen to our music, we hope that they are transported to a place where peace, love and honesty reign supreme. It is our hope that they feel empowered to create even greater works than they could have ever dreamed. We also hope that we inspire people to question themselves and search for deeper meaning. We believe that if we achieve this, we have given the world a gift that will live on.” Collusion demonstrates The Session’s commitment to offer a reflection and insight into today’s socio-political climate through the medium of jazz, and the quartet does so with grace, passion, and soul.
DEE DEE MCNEIL
"They merge the sound of New Orleans roots with consistently inspired moments that only jazz inspires. This is a production I will listen to time and time again." Read the full review here.
"Inspired by their beautiful message full of hope and solace, it is our honor to premiere The Session’s latest single, “Monk Dancing On The Levee”, a swinging and buoyant affair composed by trumpeter Stephen Lands." Check out the track premiere here.
MAKING A SCENE
"This is exciting, varied music, replete with unexpected turns and exquisite musicianship." Read the full review here.
"It’s that same search for deeper meaning that inspired the band’s forthcoming album, a collection of smart and passionate jazz music that the band hopes will inspire its listeners." Read the full review here.