Theblues PEOPLE



"On Blues People, his fourth album, Richardson expresses his restlessness in earthier terms. Rather than famous jazz musicians, he enlisted rhythm aces mostly from around Kansas City: Justus West on guitar, DeAndre Manning on bass, Ryan Lee on drums. (An additional guitarist, Igor Osypov, is a Ukrainian national living in Berlin.) Their rapport is tough and direct, more conducive to a snarling riff than to any flight of improvisational fancy. And while the blues are a focal point, there's an implicit critique of "authenticity" in this music; on an interlude called "Country Boy," listen for how a bottleneck guitar part acquires a digital stutter, like an EDM single.

By design, too, Richardson's alto saxophone often functions more like a lead vocalist than as a virtuoso solo instrument. He's a good conduit for soaring, plaintive melody, notably on a track like "Hidden Figures" or "Anthem (To Human Justice)." And however the band surges or thrashes around him, there's a feeling of urgent communion in this music. (It's a communion that honestly doesn't need exposition, which is one reason West's vocals on "Black Brown and Yellow" strike a rare false note here.)" - Nate Chinen - NPR First Listen