Highly recommended, a true Revelation! After a long hiatus since the homonymous 2006 release on Schema Records, The Invisible Session is back with Echoes Of Africa to be released on the newly-launched Space Echo label. Initiated in 2006 by Schema Records’ co-founder and musician Luciano Cantone, The Invisible Session’s influences are rooted in Black music. Written in collaboration with trombonist and multi-instrumentalist Gianluca Petrella, and with lyrics by poet, rapper, and MC Martin Thomas Paavilainen (aka Benjamin “Bentality” Paavilainen), Echoes of Africa is an homage to African music. From a recording point of view, The Invisible Session embraces jazz as a constantly evolving mosaic - a fusion of musical influences that finds force and authenticity in the groove and cultural synergies. Part of the ensemble, are some of the best musicians on the international jazz scene: kora player Jalimansa Haruna Kuyateh, guitarist Riccardo Onori, singer Joyce Elaine Yuille, drummer & percussionist Abdissa “Mamba” Assefa, bassist Jukka ”Jukkis” Kiviniemi.
Drawing influences from the rhythmic structures of Afro-beat and Ethio-jazz, the 11 compositions sparkle in various timbres by incorporating elements of funk, psychedelia, and modal music. But it is the intersection of ancestral melodies built on African pentatonic scales that gives the album its sustained flow and vibrant atmosphere. Under the influence of vibraphonist Mulatu Astatke’s music, “Journey To The East” incorporates sound studies on Ethiopian music with melodic structures built on the Bati Lydian major scale - a pentatonic scale with origins in the Middle East. Ethiopia is also celebrated in “Entoto” and “Breathe the Rhythm” - both entirely written by Gianluca Petrella.
Although it may seem speculative after May 25’s event in Minneapolis, “Hearing The Call” was conceived and written in 2018, and expands on the themes present in Haki R. Madhubuti’s poem “Children”, released on Medasi’s 1984 album “Nation”. In “Hearing The Call”, ancestral sounds and percussions hypnotize the listener, while the performance of the poem written and interpreted by African-American/Finnish artist Benjamin “Bentality” Paavilainen, flows with naturalness. A theme already addressed by The Invisible Session with “To The Powerful’’ released in 2006 on the homonymous debut album on Schema Records is climate change. On Echoes of Africa, The Invisible Session’s “Ideas Can Make the World’’ and “People All Around The World Can Make It’’ are messages of hope and encouragement. Further reflections on this theme can be found in “Mother Forgive Us’’, with lyrics and interpretation channeled by Bentality, and Joyce Elaine Yuille.