The love for an unconventional jazz, protesting and passionate, engaging and curious …
Far from being a burden, lineage is essential to a musician’s identity. Considering his father Freddie’s exemplary career path, New York drummer Nasheet Waits has chosen the best way: learn from it in order to grow up and do better.
If Freddie has been able to work with the greatest musicians of his day, the same can be said about Nasheet: launched in the great bath by Max Roach inside his M’Boom band, Nasheet quickly starts back-to-back high-level partnerships (Andrew Hill, Sonny Rollins, David Murray, Wadada Leo Smith, Steve Coleman, Michel Portal…) as a sideman or inside Equality, Tarbaby and 3rd Eye, his own projects.
At age 45, one of the most influential drummers of the current jazz scene, he fits into the evolution of a full, subtle and fiery drumming that is far from the traditional accompaniment codes. A complex use of polyrythm that paves the way for a genuine and freer expression. An approach that can be found on Between Nothingness And Infinity, the first real album of his quartet, Equality, alongside Darius Jones (saxophone), Mark Helias (double bass) and Aruan Ortiz (piano).
An obvious casting indeed, considering how much these four musicians share this love for an unconventional jazz, both protesting and passionate but also engaging and curious. One can find, in Between Nothingness And Infinity, this search for a precious balance between tradition and modernity, filled with a fighting spirit that transpires from every pore of the musicians’ skin.
If the black empowerment icon that Fanon stands for is a cherished image for Nasheet Waits (already referred to in the Tarbaby project, along with Nobel Literature Prize Toni Morrison), it is implicit in every movement of the record. One can detect by turns moments of deep stirs, specific to the intense questionings that run through “Black Skin, White Masks” and Morrison’s novels, as well as real moments of transient grace, hanging, when the mind lets go.
“When I opened my eyes yesterday I saw the sky in total revulsion. I tried to get up but the eviscerated silence surged toward me with paralyzed wings. Not responsible for my acts, at the crossroads between Nothingness and Infinity, I began to weep.”
Black Skin, White Masks