Los Angeles and its rich jazz scene are the birthplace of Mothership, jazz singer Dwight Trible’s latest album. It’s a logical and marvellous sequal to Dwight’s (deservedly) acclaimed album Inspirations he released two years ago with Manchester trumpeter Matthew Halsall and his Gondwana Orchestra.
With Inspirations Dwight once again proved his intense vocal jazz qualities as a singer with a passion for soul; a fantastic album forged in a perfect musical environment. It has such a radiant sound. Halsall & The Gondwana Orchestra formed the perfect spiritual basis for Trible and he hit our emotional home with his vocals. Inspirations was one of the jazz highlights of that year, and rightfully so. Not surprisingly, the album reached a premium spot on our year list.
Their live show in Brussels Flagey, in February 2018, was equally impressive. In retrospect this was an absolutely legendary evening, more so because Trible, Halsall & The Gondwana Orchestra decided on a very short European tour at the time. They haven’t performed together since.
Two years after Inspirations, Mothership presents Trible in top form once again. As a singer he effortlessly embraces any composition and just reels it in, no matter how impressive the band with Mark de Clive-Low (keys), John B Williams (double bass), Ramses Rodriguez (drums), Kamasi Washington (sax), Maia (harp), Miquel Atwood Ferguson (violin), Derf Reklaw and Carlos Nino (percussion).
Trible carefully selected twelve songs (the shortest just under five minutes, the longest almost eight minutes in length) that masterfully breathe the strength and emotions in his voice. A beautiful, seemingly ever-lasting title track starts the album, with Washington elegantly intertwining with Trible’s voice. Mothership opens up, takes us on an adventure, then finishes as one of the best albums of the year. I’m certain nobody can top this vocally. The emotional power of Dwight’s singing is far too great.
Just listen to its wonderful ballads Mother and Song For My Mother, more fierce tracks such as Brother Where Are You? and Standing in The Need Of Prayer. And how about that gem of a song It’s All About Love? All of them boast such tremendously intense and heart-breaking vocals, you can’t not fall totally in love with his voice.
The musical diversity of Mothership is yet another exceptional feature. Trible dares to take his band in bold directions with The Beatles’ Tomorrow Never Knows, and dives deep into blues and gospel with the unparalleled Thank You Master. Amazing how he grabs hold of that Donny Hathaway song (of his album Everything is Everything). Very daring. A wonderful contribution by Mark de Clive-Lowe; his piano playing (and organ in the background) set out the perfect lines.
Trible changes tracks with Desert Fairy Princess, which brings us in the spiritual jazz mood, only to swerve into yet another direction with the wonderfully bluesy Walkin’ To Paradiso, showering us with joyous liveliness. What a wonderful vocal performance on this track. Last but not least, both These Things You Are To Me and the beautiful album finale Some Other Time are fingerlicking good, too. So, so good.
Trible is in superb shape on Mothership. It just goes to show he’s simply the greatest jazz singer out there today. Totally unrivalled, there’s simply nobody who can open up his heart, give it his all, and pour out a wealth of emotions like he does. Time and again it creates spectacular musical fireworks he manages to both move and impress us with. His lyrics glowingly praise his love for life, his mother, God, and the people he holds near. So much passion in one voice; we’re just not used to that anymore. With his L.A. jazz buddies he manages to succeed Inspirations with yet another exceptional album; an album Dwight Trible writes jazz history with, once again.