Classical Rock / Pop Jazz: Record Reviews
Stereophile|June 2021
In its sixth year, International Anthem seriously stepped up production. 2020 saw the Chicago label releasing a fast succession of rewarding albums, including a standout disc by Tortoise guitarist Jeff Parker and adventurous jazz by Rob Mazurek and the collective Irreversible Entanglements.
By Kurt Gotschalk

Within that flurry of activity, the small operation drew a fine line through a new era of jazz spiritual. Not a narrow line, but a fine one, a bold and exceptional line. Harp/bass duo Dezron Douglas and Brandee Younger’s Force Majeure included arrangements of tunes by Alice and John Coltrane and the Stylistics; drummer Makaya McCraven continued his beat-heavy Universal Beings groove with an album that included contributions from Parker and Younger; and clarinetist/singer/songwriter Angel Bat Dawid followed her stunning 2019 debut with a live album and a 7-inch. All of those drew from a history of Black consciousness in American music without seeking to dress soul and jazz as period pieces.

The label has also built a strong identity from synergy between artists. Singer/composer Damon Locks, for example, did the cover art for the McCraven and Irreversible Entanglements releases, and Dawid is a key member of Locks’s exciting vocal group, Black Monument Ensemble.

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