BEST OF 2017: 26. Miles Mosley ‘Uprising’

As I’ve mentioned before, there are several radio shows to which I ration my exposure as a result of the number of musical purchases they consistently inspire. One is Gideon Coe’s evening show on 6 Music and the other, from the same stable, is Gilles Peterson’s glorious Saturday afternoon slot. Early in 2017 he ‘dropped’, as I believe modern parlance necessitates, a track by Miles Mosley entitled ‘Reap A Soul’ that was so immediately thrilling that I was searching for a parent album to pick up before it had made it to the two minute mark. It took a while to find somewhere with the initially limited pressing in stock. (After a low key indie release, it was subsequently picked up by Verve and reissued in the summer.) I liked the record so much, I was even willing to endure a slightly imperfect vinyl pressing just to have it on the turntable.

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There’s a muscular swagger to a piece like ‘Abraham’, bedecked with a gloriously playful piano line, and a vulnerability to the languid ‘More Than This’ that hinges on some aching organ lines. The later then explores around the halfway point, refusing to accept the situation mentioned in the lyrics.  There’s some Stevie, some Curtis and plenty of more modern soul jazz licks across these eleven tracks, crafted by a man who also plays bass in Kamasi Washington’s remarkable band. In turn, Washington lends his tenor saxophone playing to a number of these tracks and if that isn’t enough to make you at least give this a listen, I don’t know what else to try.

Heartbreaking Efforts Of Others’ is flat out incredible, building from a slightly uneasy verse to an emphatic horns and strings propelled chorus that feels barely tethered to earth. ‘Tuning Out’ is a dramatic outpouring ahead of the Latin swirl of album closer, ‘Fire’, which has little in common with what has come before. ‘Uprising’ is a pretty diverse collection of songs, traversing genres and moods at will. And what of that remarkable track, ‘Reap A Soul’? Swinging verses give way to a frenetic chorus, with strings that truly soar. It’s an album suffused with joy and bursting with talent.

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