The second album from Dap-Kings sax player Cochmea Gastelum expands on the familial themes of his debut, All My Relations. Woven in the jazz-funk journey here is a call and response between generations. The pieces of Gastelum’s past are exhumed from the ash, blown to the winds and made flesh, memories made flesh through a record that thrums with a personal pulse. While the album is still infused with Cochemea’s rippling sense of rhythm (thanks to fellow Dap-Kings) and his lacerating sax lines, its even more tied to his sense of family than its predecessor. The indigenous polyrhythms that drove the debut thicken and join a communal sense of change as the dominant themes of the record.
Like any great album threaded with theme, the pieces on Baca Sewa: Vol 2 feel like a continuation of one another. The last album was a call for unity, a record that was in conversation with culture both home and at large, and while this is a tributary of that sentiment, it also feels like an album that sees Cochemea drawing within. This is the deeper pages of a mental diary, where the memories that are so deep they’re practically DNA. Songs take inspiration from beloved uncles, childhood trips to the Southwest, a grandmother’s tales of a Pearl Diving past in the Sea of Cortez. The deep sense of tradition fuels songs that feel caked with the dust of the desert, baked by the sun, and dried with spices that conjure family gatherings.
Assembling the support of relatives generations deep, the album also features a literal chorus of the voices that inspired the album. The chants that weave their way through the album call back to Cochemea as he pushes the deep burn of sax exploration. Gastelum traces the edges and the family calls him back. The album’s tension thrives on a motion of freedom and confrontation through the horns and comfort and community in the voices. Its turbulent and comforting, but neither notion will let itself dominate as, I suppose, life won’t let the notions edge one another out either. Its a prime album for its place and time.
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