Tuesday marks the release of Play, the latest album from local jazz juggernaut The Dan White Sextet (aka DW6). Following the success of their debut, New York Sessions, the new album follows a concept: “eleven original arrangements of children’s tunes, lullabies, and folk songs.” On paper, this is something of a problematic challenge: taking songs that automatically conjure images and memories of childhood and turning them into fresh, relevant music for all ages. However, it turns out that DW6 was up to the task.
As is their stated goal, the 11 songs herein indeed bridge the genres of soul, jazz, rock, R&B, and hip-hop, culminating in a textured and varied whole. Given the background and instrumentation of their front line/nucleus (Dan White on saxophones/flute, Jon Lampley on trumpet/flugelhorn/sousaphone, and Chris Ott on trombone/beatbox), there are plenty of echoes of the modern brass band canon, but the other chosen elements of the arrangements put the album in its own category. The trio’s arrangement of “Yankee Doodle” highlights this approach, as White’s saxophone riffs over Lampley’s sousaphone and the stuttering rhythms of Ott’s beatboxing. Other highlights include “This Little Light of Mine,” where the full band stretches out, with bassist Adam Deascentis and Lampley on sousaphone trading licks, and “Camptown Races,” where a soulful horn arrangement is complemented by keyboardist Theron Brown’s R&B-tinged accompaniment. The band’s rap version of “Mary Had A Little Lamb” is the only track where the band goes too far in their mixing of the old and the new, as the remainder of the arrangements imbue the traditional melodies with vibrant life.
Play is on sale digitally Tuesday through iTunes, Spotify, and CD Baby, while CDs will be available through CD Baby, Johnny Go’s and Magnolia Thunderpussy, as well as at live shows. Check the new www.dw6music.com for more info on the album and future dates.
The band will celebrate the album release with a show at Brothers Drake on Saturday, August 24th. Joining them will be Brooklyn’s jazzy soul band Manner Effect. There is no cover and doors are at 10pm.
Keep reading for two videos from the album, as well as an introductory teaser.