Karriem Riggins – Alone (Album Review)

If you’re an artist who wants to do a record all “alone,” you need a couple things if you want it to be slammin’. First, you have to be creative and have imagination. You also need a good, solid concept of something that hasn’t been done before. Of course, it would help to have a combination of sounds that you’d really like to hear as well, but the most important factor of all is extraordinary and unbridled talent. Now, once you’ve got those things in place and have put in the hard work that goes along with any good record or project, what would you have? “Alone Together” by jazz drummer Karriem Riggins. It’s funky to the core.
The 1st half of the double album, “Alone” has 17 cuts of various lengths ranging from essential breaks to uplift anyone’s club, to radio mixes like “Moogy Foog It”, with a synth bass that rides the last piece of the pocket of a beat. You’ll also find jazzy tracks like “Ooooaaaa”, with sample cuts of vocals over fat beats.
Mind blowing off the hook tempos that ease into “phat” beats with cut up sounds are the best way to describe “Alto Flute”. The title says it all, as flute and water drops combine with musical magic to produce raw, unadulterated funk. You know you’re bad when you can rock the sound of water in your beat. Karriem should look at getting an endorsement with “Orbitz” as the track has enough flavor to take you anywhere in the world you want to be. It’s like a blend of Donald Byrd and the Blackbyrds, with some “Sun Goddess” throw in for good measure. There are experiments with low bit synth basses over a funky cut up samba rhythm on the tune “Up”. But things really got serious for me when I heard my girl Esperanza. The plucked strings, acoustic guitar, and upright bass were topped off by the funniest trilled flute/ocarina sound, and yes, the beat was still was tight with a down tempo. “Double Trouble” is likely to be a favorite of jazz fans, with the vibraphone, the way the flutes answer the phrase, and the manner in which the chords move over a very interesting beat with a riding hi hat pattern.
There are many cool surprises waiting for listeners on “Alone Together”, which I found to be a very hip play on words since both hip hop and jazz, which of course are very singular and distinctive genres, are fused together in a work of art on this CD. The last cut that I’ll mention, “Ding Dong Bells” is another gem, but there are plenty more to discover for yourself.
With “Alone Together,” Karriem Riggins has proven himself to be a man who stands apart from the crowd. This is an amazing CD, and one that you will enjoy sharing with your hip hop or jazz friends for any and all occasions.
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