We are pleased to present the premiere of Future Calculations from Brooklyn-based jazz fusion outfit A Tree Grows, the second single to be released from their forthcoming debut eponymous album.
Improvisation, especially in the jazz world, can be quite an amazing experience – this is exactly the case with A Tree Grows’ latest offering Future Calculations. Based on an exercise by the Jazz pianist Walter Bishop Jr., a renowned member of Charlie Parker’s band, this NYC-based outfit takes its development a step further and charming it is. While the listener will find much in common with the likes of Wayne Shorter, Robert Glasper, Flying Lotus, and Miles Davis here, there are also elements of Kamasi Washington, Weather Report, and even Chicago’s celebrated jazz-postrock pioneers Tortoise.
While the band’s album may be a concept album, with every track being inspired by various stages of the Earth’s and humanity’s development, you would never know it. First off, this is instrumental music so it leaves much more to the imagination than if there were lyrics here. Ultimately an ecologically sensitive band, this video hints at the need to rise to the ecological challenges we inherit. The new Future Calculations video tells an associated story of one small girl, who makes it her mission to grow a plant – surrounded by the unnatural urban landscape, this is her modest yet spiritual goal.
“We came up with this idea and decided to make the video with the backdrop of New York City, using some weird locations in Queens that we have been exploring,” explains Emanuel Ruffler. “I finally managed to convince my daughter Kokoro to act in the video and our friend Naoko Kitano agreed to do the styling. The clothes are very important for the direction of the story. The unusual kimono creates a sense of futurism, and it make the character really float above and stand out from the New York City street scenes.”
One of the members of A Tree Grows is none other than Tivon Penicott, who picked up a Grammy award last week as part of The Gregory Porter Band for their album Take Me To The Alley. Here in the video for Future Calculations, Penicott appears as a street saxophonist, who inspires the little girl’s plant to grow through his music, much like the snake charmer of olden day. This is a perfect metaphor for our humanity and spiritualism, the key to healing our environment and possibly our broken existence as humanity in the process.
But Penicott is not the only nugget involved in A Tree Grows. This is literally a gathering of some of America’s most talented jazz musicians, presenting compositions in a way that tastefully bridges stylistic barriers, lacing them with afrobeat, rock and mild funk. This collective was founded by two brothers – Rashaan Carter and Russell Carter, together with German-born electronic musician Emanuel Ruffler. Together, they create sonic textures, over which Tivon Pennicott and Duane Eubanks stretch a layer of raw, emotional jazz lines. And yes, that is Duane Eubanks of Eubanks brothers fame (Robin and Kevin Eubanks – from The Tonight Show – being the other two).
Future Calculations is really quite different than the band’s fist single Wau Wau Water, which presents more of ‘the chill factor’ within the jazz realm. You can check out that track here as well. Both videos were created by acclaimed videographer Hideki Shiota, recipient of the Best Cinematography Award at the Asian American International Film Festival. Enjoy this first track here.
All photo credits Amber Gress.
All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive. Paul’s website is hiapop Blog and you can follow him on Twitter here, and on Facebook here.