New York City-based Jazz group Onyx Collective has released their new album, Lower East Suite Part Three via Big Dada, and it’s the first time that the group has released a project composed of entirely written music, rather than improvised.
Preceded by their EPs Lower East Suite Part One and Lower East Suite Part Two, the new album puts the spotlight on band leader Isaiah Barr on alto and tenor saxophone, Austin Williamson on drums, Walter Stinson on upright bass, Spencer Murphy on electric bass, and Roy Nathanson as guest saxophone on four tracks.
“The record is a graduation for us – from not just having a microphone at a session and spontaneously recording,” explains Isaiah Barr. “This is us doing it on our own, with our own engineer, with a very low budget. That survival is really what I think jazz is: creating with your surroundings, and making something that’s a picture of that.”
With Onyx Collective’s projects renowned for capturing New York City’s more romantic facets, Lower East Suite Part Three boasts a more ominous sound, reflective of the dissonance that accompanies life in the city. “When I wrote the record I was thinking about concepts like eviction and gentrification,” says Barr. “The record is born out of the challenges of being in New York.”
It’s also worth noting that artwork for all three Lower East Suite releases is by renowned New York artist and director Julian Schnabel, who also contributes handwritten track titles to Lower East Suite Part Three.
Peep the tracklist below and have listen to the album here.
1. ONYX Court
2. Don’t Get Caught Under the Manhattan Bridge
3. Battle of the Bowery
4. There Goes the Neighborhood
5. 2AM at Veselka
6. Delancey Dillema
7. Rumble In Chatham Square
8. Eviction Notice
9. Magic Gallery
10. FDR Drive
In other new music, Stefflon Don cranks up the summer heat with “Senseless.”