Mark de Clive-Lowe – Heritage I & II [Ropeadope Records]
Heritage was recorded live at LA’s Blue Whale jazz club over three nights, as well as one day in a North Hollywood studio. Exactly where the live recording stops and the studio recording starts is all but impossible tell with de Clive-Lowe editing the material to purposely blur that line.
“The way I incorporate technology is always live – capturing and manipulating moments as they happen in real time – so this record was never about post-production, how you hear it on the album is how it happens live on stage.”
The music reflects his own experiences in Japan (“Memories of Nanzenji” recollecting his visit to the historic Kyoto temple and gardens), the samurai warrior code (“Bushidō” – “The Way of the Warrior”), childhood folk songs (“Akatombo” – an arrangement of a traditional melody as ubiquitous to Japanese people as Twinkle Twinkle is in the west) and more.
On Heritage, de Clive-Lowe is joined by a cast of world class musicians: Josh Johnson (Leon Bridges/Esperanza Spalding), Teodross Avery (Talib Kweli/Mos Def), Brandon Eugene Owens (Terrace Martin/Robert Glasper), Brandon Combs (Moses Sumney/Iman Omari) and Carlos Niño (Build An Ark/Lifeforce Trio) – who all contribute stellar performances in support of de Clive-Lowe’s music.
“These are not only my favorite musicians, but my friends, and that they were all able to be part of this project really means a lot to me. They’re all such incredible musicians, and no one brings any ego to the table – that’s one key thing that makes it possible to explore this music with a real sense of vulnerability and honesty.”
Heritage is the first in a two part project. Heritage II will be unveiled in April 2019. Original album artwork is by Japanese painter Tokio Aoyama.
Heritage II captures the essence of childhood folk-tales (Ryūgū-jō – The Dragon Palace – immortalised in the story of Urashima Taro), Buddhist myths (Shitennō – a broken-beat riding composition born from de Clive-Lowe’s learning of the identical scales used in both Ethiopian and Japanese traditional music – “these musical building blocks, or Dna, of traditional melodies and harmonies in Ethiopia and Japan are literally identical. Not approximately, but exactly. Understanding this helped me conclude that a common musical language traveled the old world Silk Road as much as trade, commerce, customs and learning knowledge. This is inspired by that idea and imagining a whole new world which it all leads to.”
On Heritage II, de Clive-Lowe is joined by a cast of world-class musicians: Josh Johnson (Leon Bridges/Esperanza Spalding), Teodross Avery (Talib Kweli/Mos Def), Brandon Eugene Owens (Terrace Martin/Robert Glasper), Brandon Combs (Moses Sumney/Iman Omari), Carlos Ninńo (Build An Ark/Lifeforce Trio) and Tylana Enomoto (Kamasi Washington/Bonobo) – who all contribute stellar performances in support of de Clive-Lowe’s music.
Heritage II is the partner album to Heritage. The Album’s original artwork by Tokio Aoyama depicts Bon Odori – a summer festival dance under the night-time sky – surreally all happening inside de Clive-Lowe’s grand piano.
1. The Offering
2. Bushidō 1
3. Memories of Nanzenji
7. Asa no Yume
1. O-Edo Nihonbashi
2. Bushidō II
6. Mizugaki (reprise)
7. The Silk Road
8. Mirai no Rekishi