Archie Shepp, Raw Poetic, and Damu the Fudgemunk collaborate in spectacular fashion in the form of their new video titled ‘Learning to Breathe’. Featuring a methodical mashup of muse, mayhem, and method, ‘Learning to Breathe’ has that jazz-scat quality about it that snaps the fingers and quenches that thirst for something not only original but needed.
Served up as a preview for the album titled ‘Ocean Bridges’, out May 22nd on Redefinition Records, ‘Learning to Breathe’ is an entirely improvised riff from the heart that showcases the things to come in a glorious fashion, and that fashion is inevitable.
About Archie Shepp, Raw Poetic, and Damu The Fudgemunk
Archie Shepp, Raw Poetic, and Damu The Fudgemunk are pleased to announce their new collaborative album ‘Ocean Bridges’, out May 22nd on Redefinition Records, alongside the album’s lead single, “Learning to Breathe.” 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 – Archie Shepp (tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, Wurlitzer), Raw Poetic (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.
Lead single “Learning to Breathe” is a blend of urgent bass, tense percussion, and Raw Poetic’s distinctive delivery and rumination on legacy: “Put legacy in my tone/blood in the banjo, my bones/my voice the new saxophone/this Philly shit can’t be cloned/now watch the pass take a form – it’s a passing of the torch,” says Poetic. “The only thing a new life form learns on its own is breathing. Learning to breathe.”
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.