The Chicago-based International Anthem label has taken the cutting-edge jazz world by storm, stockpiling a roster of the deepest of heavies whose 21st-century visions of the genre are next-level. Jaimie Branch, Ben LaMar Gay, Angel Bat Dawid, and Damon Locks are just some of those are breaking new ground. Now add Resavoir to IA’s fray of creatively off-the-charts musicians.
As the vehicle for trumpeter Will Miller, Resavoir has morphed from its beginnings as an in-bedroom project to a full-scale band with endless musical possibilities in a heartbeat. With Miller serving as composer, director, and bandleader of a cast of Chicago A-listers, Resavoir debuted earlier this year with “Escalator,” a hypnotically propulsive and downright groovy slab of futuristic post-jazz that married Miles Davis-style fusion with Tortoise-like hooks.
On the band’s eponymous, full-length debut, Miller and his 17-member ensemble continue down their shape-shifting path, crafting a sophisticated and spaced-out sprawl of not only jazz but also contemporary pop and hip-hop. It’s no wonder Miller’s protean sensibilities come to glorious light in Resavoir: his long list of disparate credits includes work with Chance the Rapper, Lil Wayne and A$AP Rocky as well as the indie-rock group Whitney.
Mind-bendingly cosmic and orchestrally lush, the nine songs that make up this self-titled set are a testament to Miller’s superb prowess as an arranger and ringleader. It certainly helps that Miller leads such a talented band including harpist Brandee Younger, singer and multi-instrumentalist Akenya Seymour, drummer Jeremy Cunningham, vocalist Sen Morimoto, and more to help realize his epic vision. There are no clunkers in this batch of sweet and syrupy tunes. “Taking Flight,” featuring Younger’s dreamy harp, is a heaven-sent retro-pop trip, “Plantasy” is a blissful soul-jazz slow burn, and “Escalator” is reworked as gritty, beats-driven hip-hop with rapping from Morimoto.
From start to finish, Resavoir’s debut is a breezy, feel-good-all-over delight that should please fans of Stereolab’s psychedelic-flavored art-pop stylings and Miller’s hometown Chicago post-jazz grooves.
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