I hope you’re all enjoying the start of 2017. I wish you and yours a happy, healthy and hugely prosperous year ahead.
One of the projects I will be contributing to this year is ‘Pictures At An African Art Exhibition’ the second album by Darryl Yokley’s Sound Reformation.
The new album is due for release later this year and puts an Afrocentric spin on Moussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition.’’ In addition to Moussorgsky’s work, Darryl’s inspiration comes from an interest in art from the African diaspora and visits to several institutes, including the American Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Darryl has been working tirelessly on this work. I’m really looking forward to its completion and I hope to share further news on its release shortly.
In the meantime, the band will be performing music from the upcoming album and some of my original work will be exhibited as part of the show at Philadelphia Museum of Art on Friday January 13th from 5:45. For further information please visit the following links.
Okay, so now we’re into July! The year is going quickly but this month does have its rewards. You may recall my previous blog ‘In Conversation with Darryl Yokley’. I’ve had the pleasure of keeping in touch with this very talented individual. Observing Darryl’s discipline and dedication to music has been inspiring and I take pleasure in congratulating him on releasing his first album entitled ‘ The Void ’ this month.
Yokley’s Sound Reformation debut album radiates vigorous, passionate, improvised music built on simple tunes with effective and powerful arrangements. ‘Waltz of the Infidels’ and ‘Voo Doo’ are two tracks currently available to listen to on Soundcloud.
The album is a measure of considerable artistry, executed with an experienced cohort of musicians; Duane Eubanks on trumpet, George Burton on piano, Luques Curtis on bass, and Wayne Smith Jr. on drums.
Duane Eubanks has one of the most unique sounds and approaches to playing the trumpet. He currently plays with Mulgrew Millers Wingspan, the Dave Holland Big Band and has played with such greats as Elvin Jones.
George Burton has played with Odean Pope, Jack Walrath, Sean Jones and Tia Fuller and is one of the most creative and sought after pianists on the scene today. Luques Curtis plays a variety of styles of music, working with acts such as with Eddie Palmieri, Sean Jones, Ninety Miles High and The Curtis Brothers, a group he co-leads with pianist Zaccai Curtis. From Philadelphia, Wayne Smith jr has his a unique style on the drums, playing with acts such as Sun Ra Arkestra and Three Blind Mice.
On the launch of the album, Darryl took time out of his busy schedule to share thoughts and answer some questions
DEN -Is there an identifiable theme for each track or throughout the album?
Darryl Yokley- My concept behind this first album was to try and present a myriad of musical influences that I’ve embraced over the years and show how it has shaped me as a composer and player up to this point. I wanted to have tunes on here that are swinging originals, tunes that you could quite possibly hear as music to a movie, and tunes deriving influences from the music of other countries. The Void, the title track of the album, is a combination of these various influences. I find it fascinating that people get pegged as being a certain type of player, he/she can only do this, all his/her tunes sound the same and so on and so forth. I wanted to present music with a broad scope compositionally and playing wise so as hopefully not be placed into any category, hence the title of the final track and the album.
DEN- It’s been long process but this album’s complete. I commend you on this achievement. How would you sum up the experience of producing it?
Darryl Yokley – It’s been a long and tiring process but a necessary one that I’ve enjoyed. From recording the music, sick as can be with no voice, listening to the product obsessively and now to the production and business side of it, I’ve enjoyed the entire experience of creating the album. As I am wrapping up this first one I’m already in the process of getting set up for the second so I don’t really have time to enjoy the fruits of the labour. I’ve got to jump right back into the fire and follow up with the next project.
DEN- How will you be promoting it over coming months?
I have two tracks up on sound cloud at the moment and I’ll be putting up one or two more preview tracks in the coming week. I’ll be submitting The Void to different radio stations for play, some critics to get reviews in the papers, along with the social networks I am on already (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Google +, Tumblr, and LinkedIn) I am in the process of creating a website so The Void and other upcoming projects and performances will be up on there.
DEN- Now that you’re already writing material for a second album, will there be time for further collaborations with other musical acts? Is this a call out for vocalists and other artists to collaborate; would you be happy to write or produce for others?
Darryl Yokley – Even though I am writing music for the second album I’m definitely always open to collaborations with other artists whether it would be writing and/or arranging, playing, producing or combinations of the three. It gives me an opportunity to learn from another person’s creativity and just enjoy the act of conversing artistically with someone new. I plan on doing some work with vocalists in the album after the one I’m preparing for. The third one will have vocals and in a context that will be quite unpredictable.