Art “Turk” Burton follows up his debut with “Ancestral Spirits”


Conga player and bandleader, Art Turk Burton is set to release his second album, “Ancestral Spirits” May 3, 2019. The album comes to life through the work of an impressive array of performers who lend their instrumentation and voices to the soundscape.

The sound itself on “Ancestral Spirits” is that of classic, Afro-Centric jazz. If there was a theme besides the title, it might be one that addresses the various ways that the word “mix” plays out in the tracks here. The album is made up of a mix of original songs and tribute tunes, and instrumental and vocal tracks. Each song has a full sound, and discerning listeners can tune into their favorite cover songs, or simply spin the album from beginning to end. Either way, it is likely that jazz fans will find a song or three, that they will want to hear again and again.

About Art Turk Burton

Burton is considered an adventurous conga and bongo player. In his career, he has played with a range of performers from Dizzy Gillespie to Muhal Richard Abrams. In terms of inspiration and approach, it seems that Burton takes his cues from classic jazz and imbues the songs with a certain bongo and conga treatment to create his own stamp.

His previous recording, “Spirits: Then & Now” and the current release are proof of his approach. In addition to playing music, Burton is also an educator and a writer. Most notably, Burton has written about black American and American Indian cowboys. In three different volumes, Burton explores a little understood development in American history.

On “Ancestral Spirits,” Burton and his ensemble bring energy and verve to give life to songs that listeners might be familiar with and to introduce audiences to his new songs. Two songs to pay attention to are “Killer Joe” and “All Blues.”

“Killer Joe” by Art Burton

Two elements stand out here: the cool blare of the horns in a motif that sounds like 1960s cool, and the crush of percussion. There are bongos, congas, percussion and drums. The nuanced and obvious rhythms propel listeners through the 12-plus minutes of this song. The track grows a little hypnotic, which adds to the fun.

“All Blues” by Art Burton

The congas and bongos open the song. They are joined soon by horns playing what sounds like a round of long notes and short notes while also having some kind of call-and-response exchange.

The sound is so full, it is difficult to pick apart the soundscape. The instrumentation does allow for a piano showcase that takes advantage of how well a sort of trill of high notes works within the context of busy horns and complicated drums. The song sounds as if people could dance to it during any era. It proves that Burton and his ensemble have an ear for what resonates with listeners from generation to generation.

Burton is accompanied on “Ancestral Spirits” by Ari Brown (tenor and soprano saxophone, and piano), Edwin Daughtery (alto and soprano saxophone), Maggie Brown (vocals), Eddie Beard (piano and organ), Dushun Mosley (drums), Yosef Ben Israel (bass), Sammie “Cha-Cha” Torres (bongo and percussion) and Luis “Preito” Rosario (timbales).

“Ancestral Spirits” will be available from Amazon, iTunes, and CDBaby.


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