‘The Artist’ is six minutes fifty-two seconds of jazzy, (initially) lounge-bar piano-led (mostly-) instrumental composition, part musical movement, part art piece, rotating its way through guitars, samples, and orchestral instrumentation and percussion, always with the same repeating melody-line. It’s freeform, experimental, and hugely ambitious, with multiple layered tracks compounding that repetitive ostinato phrase; apparently three years in the making and a month to mix, with ambient background-chatter samples, reverb-soaked drums, strings, and that constant piano, programmed TR-808 patterns and electronic instrumentation, and even the smash of a glass. There’s twists and turns, rests and pauses, pitch-shifts and tempo and timbre-changes, classical finger-picked guitar mixing with engineered notes and sampled speech, but always a return to the familiar, beautiful piano refrain. It’s an absolute work of art, delicate, potent, and powerful, and a definite labour of love. A stunning, sublime achievement.
Modern avant-garde jazz funk-fusion probably isn’t a formal genre, but it certainly needs to be on the basis of Sav Izzi’s ‘Mad Chill’, the title track from his debut album ‘Mad Chill Sessions’.
A graduate of the famed Musicians Institute in California but hailing from Chicago, Illinois – the home of Chess Records and that perfect blend of blues, funk, and Motown known as Chicago Soul – and playing with the funk band BabyBrutha, Izzi presents us with a multi-instrumentalists delight, gorgeous mellow piano melding with jazzy guitar, snappy rim-shotted drums, and a smouldering collection of brass and woodwind, to create a mind-bending soundscape, part Louisiana parade, part smoky soul club. There’s a collective of some of Chicago’s finest young musicians here with some serious groove and chops. Overall ‘Mad Chill’ is a delicious, compelling look into the full ‘Mad Chill Sessions’ album itself.