“Ocean Bridges” has been released today via Redefinition Records. Entirely improvised, “Ocean Bridges” was intentionally created without any direction, resulting in a finished product with natural energy, a conversation of ideas that transcend genre.
The album blends live improvised music, jazz, hip-hop, and many other musical directions into a one-of-a-kind sound.
“Ocean Bridges” was initially conceived after Jason Moore (aka independent, underground rapper Raw Poetic) attended an event with his mother at the Kennedy Center honoring his uncle, legendary saxophonist, Archie Shepp. Moore had sent over a dozen projects to Shepp over the last two decades, but after hearing some of Moore’s recent projects with producer/DJ, Damu The Fudgemunk, Mr. Shepp felt his nephew was, in a sense, “ready”.
The album’s title, “Ocean Bridges”, intends to signify a bridging-of-the-gap in their family’s story and a re-establishing of the connection between young and old in their general community.
“Ocean Bridges” marks the first time Shepp and his nephew, a successful rapper, educator, and children’s author in his own right, have put music to record for widespread release. In Moore’s own words: “I began writing down the parts in my head that could tell a story, a black American story that would expand across the ages, a story from my grandfather to my uncle, from my mother to me. We bridged the gaps of time, culture and struggle and made an album I always dreamt of. Ocean Bridges.”
Recorded with a live ensemble – ArchieShepp (tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, wurlitzer), RawPoetic (vocals, raps, lyrics), Earl “Damu the Fudgemunk” Davis (drums, vibraphone, vocals, turntable scratching), Pat Fritz (guitar), Aaron Gause (wurlitzer, synthesizer), Luke Stewart (acoustic bass, electric bass), Jamal Moore (tenor sax, clarinet, bongos, percussion), and Bashi Rose (drums, percussion) – in August 2019 between Washington, DC and Northern Virginia, “Ocean Bridges” fuses different musical concepts to adapt in a hip-hop format – all of the instrumentation is accompanied by vocals.
With “Ocean Bridges”, the sound is unforced, impossible to duplicate, relying on a one-take method. It is very much an organic collaboration where contributors of different and overlapping musical sensibilities have joined together in one space.