Like many jazz musicians in New Orleans, saxophonist Brad Walker plays a variety of musical roles. As a sideman and featured soloist, Walker’s skills are put to good use in Irvin Mayfield’s New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and Johnny Sketch & the Dirty Notes. As a bandleader his quartet plays some of the best forward-thinking jazz in the city. Now, with the release of Redrawblak we see another side of this versatile musician, a side that breaks free from musical norms altogether and reaches new levels of creativity that prove to be bold, unique and strikingly beautiful.
Redrawblak consists of two EP’s, one solo and one duo with drummer Simon Lott. Both EP’s are centered on the themes of “Light” and “Dark” and employ a variety of techniques to conjure atmospheric, often psychedelic musical landscapes adherent to these concepts. Walker’s use of loops, harmonizers, and other tools of digital wizardry pull the listener into a trance-like world that manages to sound both futuristic in its timbre and ancient in its meditative intensity.
The solo EP proves to be more concise than its duo counterpart. Its highlights include “Dark,” which is extremely intense, at times terrifying, and altogether bad ass. Likewise, “For Carly” is sexy and transcendent, showcasing a lush combination of playing and programming. The duo EP spotlights a tangible chemistry between Walker and Lott. Recorded live, this EP captures a potent musical beast that manages to entrap its listener while never becoming overbearing or unfocused.
Uninitiated listeners may find this music a bit challenging at times. Those with more exotic musical tastes, however, will find this double EP to be a very engaging and rewarding listen.