Karl Denson mixes his bruising saxophone blasts with a socially conscious lyrical bent on the intriguing disc, Brother’s Keeper.
The Greyboy Allstars’ alumnus collides with his Tiny Universe companions on a project that owes more to Marvin Gaye on the two-part title track, and the Neville Brothers on the foot-stomping "Shake It Out" and "Where It Counts." "The Drums of War" makes a nod and a wink to Dylan’s "Masters of War," and Denson makes sure to keep the instrumentation tight and swinging. A markedly different approach dominates the proceedings on Brother’s Keeper from previous Denson recordings like Tiny Universe and Dance Lesson #2, yet the bandleader manages to pack enough groove-heavy material for three albums worth of material.
Brother’s Keeper is Denson’s most accessible release to date, and it is destined to win over a broader fan base with inevitable radio play from jazz nuggets like the winning, "Mighty Rebel" and "Expressions." This one’s a keeper.
Brother’s Keeper is out now on Shanachie.