Cameron Mizell: guitars; Brad Whiteley: piano, keyboards; Kenneth Salters: drums, percussion.
Boasting an inviting sound and evincing a compelling dexterity in his original compositions, Brooklyn-based guitarist Cameron Mizell shapes “Negative Spaces” with rigor and variety.
Together with his competent bass-less trio, Mizell effortlessly mixes rock, blues, funk, country, Americana, and jazz with ingenuity, building up an inspired album that speaks with a proper voice without shutting up its main influences.
Ethereal and illuminated, the introspective musical piece that lends the title to the album runs smoothly and engagingly.
“Big Trees” is a short but captivating avant-folk piece layered with electric guitar on top of acoustic strumming. The song is energetic enough but transmits a peaceful aura at the same time, preparing the ground for the combination of blues and folk that are on the base of “Yesterday’s Trouble”, where Mizell’s haunting sound is clearly influenced by Marc Ribot. “Whiskey for Flowers”, unhurriedly immutable in pace, comes up in the sequence of its predecessor, immediately leading the way to “Take the Humble”, a smooth jazz-funk that coolly swings in its B section. Here we feel the good vibes of Mizell’s bluesy guitar, reminiscent of John Scofield, and the gratifying keyboard solo of Whiteley, who brought me into mind Lou Donaldson’s glorious albums from the 60’s.
The distinguished “Clearing Skies” is painted with grey hues but ultimately clears the clouds with the hope and affection set free from Mizell and Whiteley’s improvisations.
Salters’ self-assured drumming marks the well-defined pace of “Unfolding” whose beautiful melody remains in our heads, making us wanting to hear it over and over again.
Ribot’s freewheeling rock style is spotted again in the first segment of the record’s last song, “Echoing Echoing”, which ends up in an agitating harmonic turnaround.
Cameron Mizell doesn’t need words to show he’s a great storyteller. Besides that, the two qualified musicians that follow him have that clarity that facilitates his way of expression, adding also their own personal touch.
05 – Take the Humble ► 06 – Clearing Skies ► 10 – Unfolding