The boys in Denver, Colorado’s acoustic crossover-jazz group, New Latitude, have just released what is only their second album. But please don’t make any assumptions by that fact, as the band’s four members have all been at this music thing for quite some time—quite some time.
Consisting of it’s founding duo: Dave Erickson (acoustic guitar) and Jim Carr (acoustic guitar); as well as Deon Kuhl (drums & percussion), and Robert Strickland (bass), though united for their New Latitude project, they’ve all been involved with a number of other projects which span countless genres including everything from blues to classical, folk to jazz.
Following up 2014’s Convergence, with their latest project, Vantage Point, Dave, Jim, Deon and Robert have, once again, created an imaginative, colorful landscape of sound for any lover-of-music to enjoy.
Here’s what we dug most…
Opening with the aptly named, Springtime, the quartet captured the essence of the season. With blossoming, emergent guitar melodies and riffs, and a gentle, totally complimentary mix of bass and percussion, the track is a lovely microcosm of the album to come.
Just Ride‘s light, jazzy foundation and ultra-mellow-chill vibe is the perfect companion for a sunny, drop-top drive through town. It’s a true head-bobber.
With its multiple thematic tempo and mood changes, the adventurous Five Mountain Dance is easily our second favorite track on the project. Be sure to take note of the elaborate finger-work at 1:17 and 2:57.
Our Favorite Track:
Rarely has something so bad-ass been delivered so gently as in Birds Of Prey. The first 40 seconds of blues’ish/minor chords and melody, transform—without you even realizing it—into a light and airy composition. The track’s contrast of dark and light, heavy and ethereal, stimulate the imagination.
Gone Before’s intro melody-line instantly reminded me of the thematic riff in The Smashing Pumpkin’s, Tonight, Tonight. A tempo break at 3:25 adds a touch of vocal harmony, creating a dreamy contrast. Like all of its predecessors, Gone Before is gentle, and mixed with a master’s ear.
The simple and lovely Gratitude closes the album in fitting fashion: With a slow dance between Dave and Jim’s respective guitars. The track is as easy as a leisurely walk downhill.
Not needing to decipher lyrical content as a fan (and a music critic) can be profoundly refreshing. With that in mind, Vantage Point is a wonderfully soothing body of primarily instrumental work. And, concerning the acoustic instrumental genre(s), far too often acoustic guitar centered music tends to drown-out the acoustic guitar—particularly during improvisation—in final mixes, whether live or recorded. To say the least, New Latitude’s Vantage Point did not fall into that trap. Each song bursts and sparkles with EXACTLY what was intended: The masterful acoustic guitar playing and creativity of Dave Erickson and Jim Carr. Fusion/crossover jazz fans and musicians alike will enjoy this album.
Though void of lyrics, the music of New Latitude reminds me of a contemporary jazz version of acoustic folk duo, Patchouli (one of The Ark of Music’s favorites).
BELOW, you can listen to music from New Latitude’s album, Vantage Point, and connect with their website and social media platforms. Please support New Latitude by visiting them online, and playing, downloading, and/or purchasing their music. And, as always, thank you for supporting real music!