Where Future Unfolds by Damon Locks Black Monument EnsembleRelease date: May 31, 2019
Label: International Anthem
Experiencing spiritual jazz music on the record is only but a glimpse of what you get through a live experience. Those who were lucky enough to catch a Sun Ra Arkestra experience or these days, a Kamasi Washington or Makaya McCraven concert know what I’m talking about. Based on Where Future Unfolds, a live recording of Damon Locks Black Monument Ensemble, a 15-piece band recorded live at Chicago’s Garfield Park Botanical Conservatory, those present were truly lucky ones.
Locks, a fixture on the Chicago underground scene is quite a few things – a visual artist, deejay, vocalist, musician, and an educator. Where Future Unfolds, is obviously a project he devoted quite a bit of time to prepare, but it was time well spent with mesmerizing effect at moments. Locks charges all the spiritual jazz grooves with some serious politics, starting out with samples for Civil Rights era speeches then slowly transforming itself into an evolving jazz/rhythm/soul/electronics experience with a strong message. As the music evolves it gathers both in quality, pace and strength as it approaches ‘From A Spark To A Fire’.
While just listening to the recording we are deprived of the visual effects and the dancers that were also involved, the music Locks presents is compelling enough to reward repeated listenings that reveal new, subtle elements each time.