Artist: Angel Bat Dawid
Album: The Oracle
Genre: Avant-Garde Jazz/Improvisational Jazz
When drive overcomes the derailment of tough obstacles, the achievement of personal success is that much more rewarding. Clarinetist, pianist, and singer Angel Bat Dawid overcame rough obstacles to see her dreams of recording an album through, the result, her debut album The Oracle is an enlightening spiritual journey through the empowerment of being African American, but this album also recognizes the many hardships African Americans face. “What should I tell my children who are black of what it means to be captive in dark skin?” asks Dawid on the track “What Should I Tell My Children Who Are Black (Dr. Margaret Burroughs)” a track filled with moody keyboards and choir-like vocals most likely comprised of overdubs of Dawid herself, seeing as how most of the album was recorded entirely by her, and this line is probably the most pivotal, because much of the album speaks on the subject of race, and it’s done in a vain of “Avante-Garde Jazz” filled with Dawid’s bellowing clarinet, melodic keys, and wailing vocals, often improvisational. The lo-fi nature of the production adds a rawness and humanity to the album, with Dawid’s complex clarinet playing that goes astray but somehow still manages to compliment the other minimal backing elements of the instrumentation. Much of the album’s lyrical content is often short and repetitive, but it works well and bluntly gets the point across. Dawid comes from an improvised Jazz scene in Chicago, and she has impressively captured that atmosphere on record with The Oracle. One can only imagine how enthralling it must be to see her live and feeding off of other fellow improvisational musicians. That spirit is incredibly captured on the track “Capetown,” where Dawid and drummer Asher Simiso Gamedze have an all-out jam session that creates such a discombobulating but captivating experience. This is an album that showcases how less is more, with lyrical content that gets straight to the matter at hand, and instrumentation that fully utilizes minimalistic production to emphasize the invigorating and impressive multi-talented skill of Dawid. Hopefully this is only the beginning of a fruitful career of vast experimentation for Angel Bat Dawid.
Written By: Steven Sandoval