Cochemea Gastelum on Julie Tippetts – Sunset Glow


Much like his first album, Cochemea’s Vol II: Baca Sewa is a heady mixture of funk, spiritual jazz, and indigenous polyrhythms. The record features his lacerating sax and a familial connection that goes deep into his Southwest roots. As a session player he’s often lifted works to a new plateau, gracing works by artists as varied as Mark Ronson, Kesha, Sharon Jones, Kevin Morby, and The New Pornographers. Yet its at the helm of his own works that he seems to cut deepest of all. His new album is a 2021 highlight and I was glad to get him to dig into his own collection for an entry into the Hidden Gems series. Check out how this jazz nugget from Julie Tippetts, made it into his collection and the impact it’s had.

“Years ago, a dear friend of mine used to make me mix tapes (remember those!?) of music he thought I would like,” recalls Gastelum. He turned me on to many, what are now considered, classics and also some true hidden gems. The song structure is quite unconventional, giving way to long psychedelic avant rock jams with a free jazz bent, dissonant harmonies and is heavy on the vocal improvisation. Julie Tippetts (formerly Driscoll) had a fairly successful partnership with organist Brian Auger, but her vocal phrasing and creativity really shine here.”

As always I ask if the record has left its mark on Cochemea’s own writing and playing, but on reflection he notes, “I don’t know that it has seeped into my music in any tangible way, I just love to put it on at a certain time of day or for a particular kind of feeling. I return to it often.”

As so many of these treasures are uncovered and proven to be hard to find, this one comes as a bit of a blessing. While its been issued on CD more recently, originals of the LP are still pretty easy to come by at a price that won’t totally gouge your account. Even among the Discogs wolves, its possible to pick one up for under $20 and set this on to start your day. Might as well grab a copy of Baca Sewa while you’re looking to enhance your speakers as well. Cochemea’s second is out now via Daptone Records.

Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

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