All-Star Jazz Music of the Future with Echoes of the Past
Los Angeles, CA - World Rising, to be released by Visionsound on August 11, is a powerful production from keyboardist Ben Dowling featuring a cast of famous friends from the jazz, funk and world music spheres. Notable contributions come from Mindi Abair, Luis Conte, Will Kennedy, Satnam Ramgotra, Bob Sheppard and include a previously unreleased track featuring a duet between vocalist extraordinaire Niki Haris and the late, great Carl Anderson.
A gifted pianist with a groove-oriented bent, Dowling has worked with a broad range of musical innovators, from playing funk with Earth, Wind and Fire's Al McKay to synthesis programming for Joe Zawinul, Yellowjackets, Michael Jackson and Madonna. After the passing of jazz legends Carl Anderson in 2004 and Zawinul in 2007, Dowling decided to memorialize their friendship and their important contributions.
In tribute, World Rising revisits classic elements of 70's vintage fusion and reshapes them using contemporary production, a novel live performance concept and polyrhythmic drive. World Rising sits solidly within the jazz-fusion idiom with both smooth and eclectic moments. Thanks to masterful production, the recording holds together seamlessly, with a sound heavy on percussive, driving groove (courtesy of tabla player Satnam Ramgotra and drum master Will Kennedy) and Herbie Hancock-inspired horn section harmony with featured guest soloists including trumpeters Rod McGaha, Mike Harris and Jeff Beal with saxophonists Bob Sheppard and Mindi Abair.
The Calling" and title track “World Rising” exemplify the neo classic approach, combining furious percussion and long meter ensemble sections. Spirit Dance" is a smooth jazz hit, with sensation Mindi Abair turning it out in her featured performance. Dowling's soulful vocal of his original Love Embraces All" is a compelling blend of jazz tradition and loop- based songwriting that could easily become a genre of its own. The collection also includes two haunting ballads with Brazilian-inspired harmony: Sarah Song," with Dowling's wordless vocals, and In My Dreams," featuring Bob Sheppard on soprano with 12-year-old Sarah Dowling on cello. The record ends with a gorgeous solo piano track, Emergence," that is a study in pianistic touch.
World Rising delivers an inspired approach to new jazz music with a depth of harmony, sophisticated melody and relentless rhythmic funk integrated in a compelling and authentic new direction. The performance design model returns jazz music to its roots of open arrangement, making each live performance a unique, powerful—and recordable— experience. Dowling's playing is superb, understated and tasteful, demonstrating that this is one artist with a unique point of view and the chops to pull it off. I want to continue pushing music into the new directions that technology and culture allow, but that are honest musically, draw inspiration from the moment and speak from the heart,” he says.
World Rising is my first jazz record to honor the powerful tradition that predated me, as we move together into the new and vital music to come."