By Brian Zimmerman | Published August 2017
Find The Common, Shine A Light is the latest compositional victory to spring from the mind of trombonist Ryan Keberle and his restlessly ambitious ensemble, Carthasis. The leader formulated the idea in response to the 2016 presidential election, envisioning a project that could speak both to the current state of political unrest and to music’s ability to overcome it. Suite-like in its scope and unity of purpose, the album is a mix of barbed, yet beauteous, originals and covers of enduring protest songs by Bob Dylan (“The Times They Are A-Changin’”) and The Beatles (“Fool On The Hill”).
Harnessing sonic breadth and thematic focus, the album begins with “Become The Water,” which features singer-guitarist Camila Meza rendering lyrics by poet Manca Weeks with lithe, yet determined, sensitivity. The ensuing songs develop that theme through pointed references and oblique gestures. “Al Otro Lado Del Rio” grapples directly with themes of immigration and national origin, while songs like “Strength,” “Mindfulness” and “Empathy” offer reflections on human character.
Find The Common, Shine A Light: Become The Water; Al Otro Lado Del Rio; Empathy; Ancient Theory; Fool On The Hill; Mindfulness; The Times They Are A-Changin’; Strength; I Am A Stranger. (41:00)
Personnel: Ryan Keberle, trombone, keyboards, vocals; Camila Meza, vocals, guitar; Mike Rodriguez, trumpet; Jorge Roeder, bass; Eric Doob, drums.