Power Vibe

Steph Richards


STREET DATE: May 03, 2024

Trumpeter Steph Richards’ latest full-length, Power Vibe marries avant garde and cinematic moods with an infectious and patently pleasing tunefulness. “Sensory electronics” –– subtle but compelling textures and tactile rhythms which are physically triggered by drum-mounted sensors –– compel fascination here, interweaving a kind of aural hyper-lucidity throughout the record.

Though boldly original, this music strides surefootedly alongside the work of contemporaries like Nicole Mitchell and the late jaimie branch. What’s more, the record is built around a series of musical cues that, when played, redirect all the players to move into a new structure. The trick is that any of the players can play one of these cues at any time, ensuring that the music unfolds in an even more radically democratic way than in totally open-ended improvised music performance. While Richards’ virtuosity and boundless creativity is clearly on display here, pianist Joshua White, whose playing sometimes veers into McCoy Tyner rapture, and drummers Gerald Cleaver and Max Jaffe do more than simply support –– instead, their playing proceeds from a sense of commitment and soulfulness that is born of that redistribution of power. And Stomu Takeishi’s upright and electric bass guitar playing helps to push these tunes headlong into realms of groove and infectious kinesis that make it what it is: remarkable.

Certainly fans of Ron Miles’, Wadada Leo Smith’s or Don Cherry’s adventurous and joyful playing and collaborating will find much to love in this work. But the vibe here belongs to Steph Richards.

Steph Richards, trumpet and flugelhorn
Joshua White, piano
Stomu Takeishi, bass and electric bass guitars
Gerald Cleaver, drumset (tracks 1-5)
Max Jaffee, sensory electronics (tracks 1-5), drumset (track 6)

Recorded by Andrew Munsey at Bunker Studios, Brooklyn, NY
Co-produced by Stephanie Richards and Andrew Munsey
Mixed and Mastered by Andrew Munsey

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