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  • Cy White

James Larter: Polarity


I am utterly convinced percussionists make some of the best composers: Jack White, Yussef Dayes, James Larter. They tend to have an ear for the intricacies, allowing them to create some truly profound music. Music that fills each corner and crack with something interesting, new. Prisms of sound refracting around the edges and exploding into double, triple rainbows.

Polarity is exceptional jazz that spills over into something greater than the sum of its parts. Experimental doesn't seem to do it justice. It isn't free jazz by any stretch of the imagination. It's too structured, too full of definite purpose to have that kind of openness. But it does access parts of the mind reserved for untangling something different than what's expected.

A taste of '70s makes room with instrumentation from various countries in Africa. The vocals, when they come, are almost perfectly integrated with the music that surrounds them. Polarity is an incredible album that wraps around my soul and tugs. It sends me to a place and time I have not lived myself but have absorbed from years of listening to my father play music from the likes of Earth, Wind & Fire, Kool & the Gang, Mandrill. This is the music I grew up on, a history that is so integral to my current existence I can't help but feel an emotional tug. This music feels like home.



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