www.thewickedsound.com Album Picks EABS meet Jaubi In Search of a Better Tomorrow [Astigmatic Records]
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Album Picks: EABS meet Jaubi – In Search of a Better Tomorrow [Astigmatic Records]

Polish jazz band EABS and Pakistanis instrumental quartet Jaubi released a fantastic collaborative album In Search of a Better Tomorrow. Check our review:

Who would have thought that J Dilla’s beats could bridge the gap between Indian ragas and spiritual Polish jazz? Not me. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised when I first heard a collaborative project EABS meet Jaubi, released last Friday on  Astigmatic Records. Dig a little deeper into the history of these bands and how this collaboration came to be, and you’ll discover Dilla’s influence. And the sound? This album is like a slow-burning fire rising to a sun explosion. It’s one hell of a record.

Since its formation in 2011, EABS has been at the forefront of not only Polish jazz but also progressive contemporary music in general. This band boasts several talented members: Marek “Latarnik” Pędziwiatr on grand piano, Fender Rhodes Mark II, Nord Stage 2, and Moog Voyager; Marcin Rak on drums; Paweł “Wuja HZG” Stachowiak on bass guitar and Moog Little Phatty; Olaf Węgier on tenor and soprano saxophones as well as bass clarinet; and Jakub Kurek on trumpet.

EABS fearlessly touches and reimagines music from Slavic folk, Polish jazz legend Krzysztof Komeda, eclectic Afrofuturism guru Sun Ra, and influential hip-hop producer J Dilla. This time, their musical journey takes them east to meet like-minded musicians from Pakistan: Jaubi. Like EABS, Jaubi enjoys mixing traditional music and jazz improvisations with a hip-hop attitude.

Jaubi consists of Kashif Ali Dhani on tabla and vocals, Zohaib Hassan Khan on sarangi, and Ali Riaz Baqar on guitar. They have gained international recognition for their music, which blends Indian classical music with jazz and other genres. Their album Nafs at Peace (Astigmatic Records, 2021), recorded with pianist Latarnik and saxophonist Tenderlonious, was widely acclaimed and became one of the highest-rated jazz albums of 2021.

The title of the record In Search of a Better Tomorrow sets the theme and mood for the album. It starts off dark and moody but grows brighter with each track until it reaches its climax with the final track The Sun. The fusion of musical talents between Polish and Pakistani artists is not only a testament to the power of music but also to the unifying and healing qualities of art. Despite the challenges of our ever-changing world - pandemics, floods, war, political turmoil - these musicians have sought solace through their collaborative efforts and shared passion. They have found a connection through the universal language of music in hopes that a better tomorrow is on the horizon.

The album opens with delicate piano on the first track Yesterday, soon joined by horns and drums in a great mixture of Hindustani ragas and spiritual jazz with an intense solo. Judgment Day is a more upbeat track with an extraordinary looped groove. Whispers is based strictly on tabla riddim with cosmic futuristic solos - if there’s any Sun Ra influence left in EABS’ music, it’s definitely hidden in this song. The second single Strange Love is an absolute banger with fantastic drumming and an irresistible melody - perfect for fans of Comet Is Coming or Theon Cross. The third and final single People in Between takes us on a journey into more freeform territories, anchored by a steady beat in the background.

The irresistible groove and melody of Raise Your Hearts, Drop Your Guns bring hope and change the tone in the second half of In Search of a Better Tomorrow. The dark and mystical Tomorrow is a slow and meditative number with some quirky electronics. In Madhuvanti, we hear a Tomasz Stanko-style trumpet in conversation with sarangi and tabla - I’m most curious to hear this one live. Moon is a short raga that sets the mood and prepares us for the final fireworks. The first single and last track on the album, The Sun, is my favorite. It’s a life-affirming joyous ride featuring a driving electronic beat and a soaring saxophone solo. The Sun is a great example of the album’s sound, which seamlessly blends modern and traditional elements. It’s a unique and refreshing album with an infectious sound that’s sure to appeal to fans of jazz, electronic music, and world music - a solid contender for one of the top albums of 2023.


Listen to EABS meet Jaubi fantastic collaborative album In Search of a Better Tomorrow:

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