JWQ Showcase 2017

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

USA: Pianist Cameron Graves feat. Kamasi Washington, Thundercat and Ronald Bruner Jr. - "Planetary Prince" Available June 10


Visionary Pianist & West Coast Get Down Founding Member Cameron Graves Debuts Genre-Blurring
Album Planetary Prince - Available June 10
Album Features Kamasi Washington,
Thundercat and Ronald Bruner Jr.

  
  

The release of Kamasi Washington's The Epic last year marked a seismic shift in the jazz landscape and the game-changing arrival of the genre-blurring Los Angeles collective West Coast Get Down. That evolution continues with the release of Planetary Prince, the debut album by visionary pianist, keyboardist, composer and WCGD founding member Cameron Graves.
The four ambitious, progressive pieces on Planetary Prince were recorded during a marathon 11-hour studio session (a second volume is due later this year), the pressure-cooker intensity of which is reflected in its fiery, transcendent playing. The core of the band is made up of fellow West Coast Get Down members, whose musical and personal relationships with Graves stretch back to their high school days: tenor saxophonist Kamasi Washington, trombonist Ryan Porter, bassist Stephen "Thundercat" Bruner, and drummer Ronald Bruner Jr. To their ranks are added trumpeter Philip Dizack and bassist Hadrien Feraud, both key members of the groundbreaking modern L.A. jazz scene.

. . . . . . . . . . . .
"Cameron Graves is a musical genius. He has an innovative approach to the piano
that is completely unique. Cameron's new album 'Planetary Prince' is an amazing and
almost unbelievable combination of modal jazz, romantic era European classical music,
and mathematical death metal. A style so cool that it deserves it's own genre.
Cameron's music has been inspiring me since I was thirteen years old and
it still does today! I'm so glad he's sharing it with the world!" - Kamasi Washington
. . . . . . . . . . . .
The title of Planetary Prince, which also serves as Graves' occasional pseudonym, comes from The Urantia Book, a spiritual tome that emerged from Chicago in the first half of the 20th century and that purports to reveal the truth of humanity through a combination of spiritual and cosmological ideas, including radical retellings of familiar stories from the Bible.
"That's a really deep book," says Graves, whose interest in Urantia grew out of a lifelong fascination with astronomy, astrology, spiritualism and meditation reflected in both his music and his study of the ancient Chinese martial art Xing Yi Chuan. "A lot of people might think it's sacrilegious, but it makes so much sense about the breakdown of the universe and deities and Earth and man."
The way that The Urantia Book refracts religious traditions through the lens of science and speculative philosophy has parallels with the ways in which Graves and his West Coast Get Down compatriots have reimagined the jazz lineage with hip-hop and prog rock inflections as well as interstellar ambitions. Graves makes a direct connection between his music and the book with pieces like "Adam and Eve" and the title track.
The other two pieces - "Andromeda" and "Isle of Love" - aren't directly inspired by Urantia but are no less cosmic in their inspiration. The former was sparked by striking images of the Andromeda Galaxy, sister galaxy to the Milky Way as our closest neighbor in the universe; while the latter is an imagined destination populated by a race of pure love.
While those mind-expanding concepts are key to the sprawling imagination of Graves' tunes, they aren't responsible for the fervent, impassioned playing of Graves and his ensemble. That comes from the members' nearly two decades of musical history together. "I don't communicate the Urantia ideas to the band," Graves says. "They just know that my song titles are kind of weird but the music is really cool. I like to write a lot in odd rhythms, especially in seven, which takes the music somewhere else and lets the cats build off of that."
Graves initially met Washington, Porter and the Bruner brothers in his freshman year at Locke High School in Los Angeles, when they'd rehearse together in school band and spend recess listening to John Coltrane together. At only 16-years-old, Graves, along with Washington and the Bruners, made his recorded debut with their collective group, the Young Jazz Giants. The group started playing regularly at a local poetry spot called Doboy's Dozens, eventually shifting to Fifth St. Dicks where they started experimenting with a ten piece band. 
"That's when we started getting into our groove," Graves recalls. "We were finding grooves, writing different songs, and learning from each other, creating that chemistry that we have today."
In 2007, bassist and WCGD founding member Miles Mosley discovered the Piano Bar, which led to the now-legendary West Coast Get Down weekly series at the venue where they further honed their collective sound and notorious energy, which they channeled into the recording of 
The Epic and now Planetary Prince. "We've been playing this material with that kind of intensity for a long time now," Graves says. "We all grew up listening together to hip-hop and rock and metal and jazz, so we all know where we're going and how to complement it. It's just intuition."

Graves has also carved out a notable career apart from the WCGD. With his brother Taylor he formed the R&B/fusion duo The Graves Brothers, releasing their debut, Look to the Stars, in 2013. That project grew out of a British/American pop group called The Score with which the brothers found enormous success in England.
Graves was also a key member of actress/musician Jada Pinkett Smith's nu-metal band Wicked Wisdom, providing entrée into the world of film and television scoring through the Pinkett Smith-directed film The Human Contract and TV series Hawthorne. Through his soundtrack work Graves connected with Stanley Clarke, and is now a member of the great bassist/composer's latest band.


Cameron Graves · Planetary Prince
Release Date: June 10, 2016
For more information on Cameron Graves, please visit: CameronGravesMusic.com


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DL Media  ·  610-667-0501
Matthew Jurasek  ·  matthew@dlmediamusic.com
Maureen McFadden  ·  maureen@dlmediamusic.com

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