★★★★ – Downbeat Magazine
MUSIC REVIEW BY Michael Barris, Downbeat
Reedist Shawn Maxwell has won fans with a handful of provocative albums that helped make him an exciting figure on the Chicago jazz landscape. New Tomorrow, which ads trumpet voices to Maxwell’s regular quartet, sees the leader taking even more chances in his ongoing quest to surprise the listener.
“Embraceable Excuses,” the opening and strongest track, points to what’s to come: a plethora of riff-driven themes punched up with a heavy backbeat, embracing odd meters and leaning toward funk. What elevates these idiosyncratic tracks above mere compolsitional self-indulgence is the marvelously collaborative spirit that informs the album.
That said, things fall off a bit after the opening piece. The decision to make just about every element subservient to the thudding drum beat gradually turns the heavy vamps into an assault on the senses. Nevertheless, the innovative impulse that motivates this colorful project is refreshing. All in all, this latest display of Maxwell’s adventurous spirit is bound to move admirers both new and old to say, “Vamp on, Shawn!”