Released - May 2021 Label - Bridge The Gap
'While You Were Sleeping...' presents a retrospective account of a project that has had a few months to marinate. This week sees us returning to a superb release from May 2021 - Raffy Bushman's Beginner's Mind
Allow me to present to you UK based Raffy Bushman’s - Beginner’s Mind. Released earlier this year in May, it came to my attention purely by chance yet has been a source of fascination ever since. Drawing from the likes of Dave Brubeck with its seductively square arrangements, it can be classified as no less than Cool Jazz - with little intervention from electronic instruments and minimal contemporary influence. That said, it does utilise the now commonplace swung hip hop patterning within certain grooves, but as an undeniably Cool work this presents more as an inflection than a major focal point, most notably on third track ‘Distraction’.
To keep referencing Cool may appear as undermining to those listening to the project, for certainly it does present moments of technical brilliance but this is never at the expense of the project’s fluidity. The deliberately unaffected production has not attempted to gloss over the natural ambience of the room with a viscous sheen - instead there is a welcome sense of live performance with the acoustic nature of the piano, snare drum and double bass perfectly replicated on record.
Comprised of only 5 tracks, this short yet monumental work joins a myriad of stupendous Jazz and R&B releases that continue throughout what can only be described as a musical renaissance - a bold statement I know, but hardly surprising in the wake of 2020, the current political climate and the irrepressible thirst for meaning in what was rapidly becoming a cultural wasteland. History is apt to repeat itself and we would do well to continue to encourage this rebirthing of the methods of the masters within Jazz, for they represent the form at its most pure and unaffected, attributes so desperately needed in 2021.
How incredible it feels to note that this is only the artist's second Ep, the first being 2020’s ‘Look Up’ - itself a masterstroke of composition, feel, talent and dedication. ‘Beginner’s Mind’ merely continues to expand on this narrative and I wait with a blessed assurance of quality, for what will undoubtedly be a sublime album.