Saxophonist Isaiah Collier and his celebrated quartet, the Chosen Few, are among our city’s mightiest conduits of spiritual jazz. So when Collier and Chosen Few percussionist Michael Shekwoaga Ode shared a wildfire studio improvisation while recording last year’s Cosmic Transitions, they knew immediately they wanted to keep that heat blazing. Thus their duo project, I AM, was born, and with it their debut record, this month’s Beyond (Division 81). Collier and Ode’s reunion is so dense and driving it can rival the full-band sound on Cosmic Transitions with only half as many musicians. Just as on that record, however, you don’t even hear Collier’s saxophone until a few minutes into the proceedings. Beyond begins with a sparse sonic meditation led by poet Jimmy Chan, aurally cleansing the palate for the full blasts to come. It’s as though Beyond needs to take a great, lung-expanding breath before speaking, singing, and screaming this elemental music. It blazes with sheer, unbridled supernova brilliance—if there were such a thing as eclipse headphones, I would highly recommend them. For their release celebration at Sleeping Village, I AM play through Beyond, preceded by homegrown talents Kiéla Adira, Dia.L, and Fess Grandiose. LA-based radio host and DJ Seano performs between sets; Division 81 label honcho Sonny Daze, who produced Beyond and Cosmic Transitions, emcees.
I AM, Kiéla Adira, Dia.L, Fess Grandiose. SeanO DJs and Sonny Daze hosts. Sun 6/19, 8 PM, Sleeping Village, $20, $15 in advance, 21+