Drummer Ulysses Owens, Jr. reveals that he had one goal in mind when he created his debut album It’s Time For U as he claims in a recent press release, “I want to bring music back to its original purpose and that’s for people to escape through the music, and have inspiration to approach life with more vigor and purpose.”
Some strands of music which Owens articulates and entwines on his debut recording include elements of post-bop, soul, funk, and rhythm & blues. He cooks up a bluesy-funk tempest deep fried in gospel and soul on “N’Awlins Greens,” which transitions to a buoyant bop romper on the following track “Cyclic Episode” adorned with titillating solos from Owens on drums, Ben Williams on acoustic bass, and Sullivan Fortner on the simmering moans of the Hammond Organ. Also, on Owens recording are Tim Green on alto and soprano saxophones, Adam Burton on trumpet, Danny Hall on trombone, and Eric Hall on alto saxophone.
Produced by Greg Knowles, It’s Time For U not only elicits Owens talent to keep the music mobile and ramp up the songs dynamics with well-positioned solos, but the use of vocals on some of the tracks deepens the album’s luster. For instance, Alicia Olatuja’s silky clarity on “Stop This Train” broadens the scope of the melody with balmy vocal lifts, and Nicolas Ryan Gant’s exalting vocal rises on “Sing” embalm the harmonious mixture with a blessed sonorous. Tracks like “Red Chair” and “The Maestro Blues” are welded into sleek improvisations which parasail along a bop-inspired rhythm that profiles Owens adventurous and spirited side. The songs are ruled by an unforeseeable force that directs their course steadily congregating into deft arrangements.
Using every square inch of the chord progressions creatively, Owens keeps the gist of the album upbeat, and forges through impasses and rough patches in the fluidity of the music so the harmonic formations roll smoothly. The horns and keyboards operate the gear shift of Owens vessel, but he controls the paddling and the pace of the tracks mobility. A graduate of New York City’s Juilliard School, Owens’ ambitions are simple in comparison to his peers, to play music that he loves and to be loved in return for it. It is the stuff that indelible musicians are made of, and remembered for through time.