Dwight Trible ‘Mothership’ 2LP/CD (Gearbox) 5/5

Vocalist, activist, teacher, Dwight Trible releases his new album ‘Mothership’ to a fairly rapturous reception thus far.

There’s long been something very exciting about Dwight Trible’s approach to music-making. It’s certainly true that since his move to Los Angeles in 1978, from Cincinnati, he has become wholly immersed within the LA jazz scene and helped to inspire future generations that carry the torch for the city’s artistry within jazz, but there’s an all-inclusive and collaborative quality to his projects that make his next move almost unpredictable. His 2005 album ‘Love Is The Answer’ with The Life Force Trio, released through Ninja Tune, invited collaborations from California’s revered hip-hop producers like Sa-Ra Creative Partners, Madlib and Georgia Anne Muldrow; 2008 saw Trible tackle lead vocals for trombonist Paul Zauner and his project Blue Brass project ‘Venues of Harlem’, released on the Austrian PAO Records; 2017 paired Trible with the incredible Matthew Halsall for their album ‘Inspirations’ courtesy of Halsall’s UK-based Gondwana Records.

Each and every move from Trible thrives upon the spirit of collaboration, new ideas, new energy. But despite Trible’s latest effort being released on the UK record label Gearbox Records, when considering the music here and some of the artists involved, ‘Mothership’ seems very much like Trible’s homecoming. Staples of Los Angeles’s thriving jazz scene are present including the prolific DJ/producer/pianist Mark de Clive-Lowe who is credited on piano for the whole album and newly-signed Brainfeeder artist Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, famed for his work with Hiatus Kaiyote and Shafiq Husayn, plays viola on a handful of tracks. There is also the renowned bassist, John B. Williams, whose extensive background has seen him record and perform with Horace Silver, Roy Ayers, Bobby Hutcherson and Leon Thomas amongst others. Kamasi Washington makes an exciting appearance, sax in hand, on the album’s opening title track, returning the favour for Trible’s past vocal appearances on Washington’s ‘Heaven and Earth’ (2018) and ‘The Epic’ (2015) album releases.

And then there’s Gearbox Records, home to incredible UK talent including Binker and Moses, Theon Cross (currently riding high with his own ‘Fyah’ album release) and music from the exquisite folk singer Ana Silvera. The vinyl-led record label, which initially specialised in unreleased vintage jazz recordings before unveiling original music from innovative musicians like the aforementioned artists, have really found a perfect match with ‘Mothership’: much like Gearbox’s own journey, Trible’s music itself acts as a perfect bridge from pioneering jazz musicians like Pharoah Sanders to forerunners of contemporary jazz like Washington, producer/saxophonist Terrace Martin and trumpeter Josef Leimberg.

As mentioned earlier, although on ‘Mothership’ it would appear that Dwight Trible has in fact come home, and as thrilling as that is, it’s also interesting to see where he’ll go next.

Imran Mirza

Read also: Dwight Trible ‘Inspirations’ LP/CD (Gondwana) 4/5