October 7th, 2016 | Album reviews

Astral Progressions
World Galaxy / Alpha Pup

Josef Leimberg, occasionally known as LoveDragon, has been making waves behind the scenes in the music industry for quite some time. He has written, produced, or played music for Snoop Dogg, Erykah Badu, Funkadelic, Freestyle Fellowship, Dr. Dre, Murs, Busdriver and Kendrick Lamar. His debut solo takes reference from the likes of Yusef Lateef, John Coltrane and Miles Davis with his fusion-style jazz. The album is very spacey and transcendental: elements of Eastern music blend with soaring horn solos, chimes, bells, 70s guitar, and chants to reference the old but play with the new. Kamasi Washington wails out on the saxophone on a few tracks, and Bilal, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Kurupt, Terrace Martin and Miguel Atwood-Ferguson also contribute, to name a few. This is definitely a more spiritual/world-influenced jazz, but do not let that deter you from giving it a listen. Many elements of hip-hop and the more contemporary electronic beat scene fronted by Flying Lotus lay claim to the songs as well. The track “Between Us 2” plays more like an experimental hip-hop song with a live band than a jazz track, but it is the album’s versatility that makes it most enjoyable. Near the end of the album there is a great reimagining of Miles Davis’ “Lonely Fire” that features soaring horn solos and a more upbeat drum rhythm than the original. This is another great jazz album in a series of new work coming out of L.A. right now.

—Zachary Jensen