Ruffler, Carter and Angulo Three Words to Thrive By
Review by Maria Ezzitouni
Three words to thrive by is as interesting for its uplifting jazz music as its is for the creative process behind the album. The trio of Emanuel Ruffler (piano), Rashaan Carter (bass) and Timothy Angulo (drums) starts off with discussions that becomes ideas, that then inspire them to make music.
”This trio is born of conversation. It’s origin, thought and dialogue is rooted in listening, sharing, and learning. We’ve developed a fairly regular routine in which a discussion precludes and completes a rehearsal or a recording. We’ve developed a trust that ushers these exchanges through a wide range of ideas and topics. These conversations form the core of the music,” explains pianist Ruffler.
Their first single, “Jazz Dakar” was released on the 30th of October and was born after all three went to West Africa, where they were deeply touched by the history of slavery. The Gospel singer and activist, Valerie Troutt completes the piece with a melody originally meant for a horn. Troutt’s voice has similarities with Anita Baker’s and it is hard not to wish for more.
"Out of Alignment"
The trio recorded the album in 2019 and their inspirations often came from the desire to break down social constructions of oppression, not knowing what was to come in 2020. The album does not offer any revolutionary lyrics but the trio hopes to strongly carry forward the tradition of jazz; as a form of resistance to the inequalities of today.
The compositions on the album varies from the dreamy and relaxing “Out of Alignment” where the piano, the bass and the drums complement each other, to the track “Thunder” which expresses a darker mode where the different instruments seem to compete with each other. Both “Elephant” and The Infinite” feels as if the conversations the trio talks about are expressed by their respective instruments in a ray of emotions from happiness to despair. It is also interesting to see how the titles of the songs affect the way the music is experienced and easily create pictures in your head, although the album is purely instrumental. - Maria Ezzitouni