Cameron Graves is a progressive jazz pianist who combines mad skills at the piano with other instruments while maintaining the spotlight on the often overlooked musical equipment. Admit it, the paino gets to be a star most often if not only when it is a solo recital. He also plays for Kamasi Washington and a founding member of the West Coast Get Down collective.
Planetary Prince is his debut as a band leader, and this is only my second time to review an instrumental album, AND my first time to review a jazz album – or is it?
Limiting Planetary Prince to one category is an injustice to the fresh and inventive take on jazz that it offers. Graves’ astounding style makes it hard (or makes it a mistake) to identify his musical style to one specific genre. He is joined with fellow WCGD musicians Ryan Porter (trombone), Stephen “Thudercat” Bruner (bass), Ronald Bruner Jr. (drums), Philip DIzack (trumpet), Hadrien Feraud (bass), and Kamasi Washington (saxophone).
Majority of the tracks are more than 8 minutes long, with a couple of radio edits available (tracks 9 thru 12), but it is worth listening to because the guy is a disruptor. A revolutionary. A genre-bender. His innovative approach to the piano, according to Kamasi Washington, is “an amazing and almost unbelievable combination of modal jazz, romantic era European classical music, and mathematical death metal. A style so cool that it deserves its own genre.”
When you want to get into jazz through a beautiful transition and not just an abrupt decision, this is the album to check out.
Label: Mack Avenue
Personal favorite/s: Andromeda, Planetary Prince, Adam and Eve