Collaborative efforts from musicians are as old as time itself. From guest musicians, to backup vocalists, executive producers, and an extensive list of writers and accompanying personnel. The idea about a collaborative effort is not fresh, but what does change through each work is the people that put their creativity together to make something truly eternal.
Through the newest works of The Mixtapers; a group coalition of Michelle Manzo, Brother Martino, and Nico Menci, the powerhouse is able to conquer this jazz-fusion style with a modern twist. Even as stepping back into the velvet 1970’s era captures the smooth, but still vivid recollection of synth progressions with drum machines and a world of other instruments. Then as two other members of both Georgia Anne Muldrow and Dudley Perkins moves into the frame as guest vocals on the gleaming Flowers / Bloom.
Truly one of the more beautiful releases of the year, Flowers / Bloom is a summer walk through Schenley Park, a stroll on Lenox Ave in the hot days where the whole city seems to be alive, it is the breath to the perfection of music. More joyous than being alive when the flowers bloom, is hearing the silk voice of Muldrow on the glorious opening track, “Flowers.” It was the first track of Muldrow that injected the color into the face, opened the blinds, and cleared off some of the dust in the dopamine chambers. Hearing the first chords of the piano and the rattling synthesizer that plays the background into the smooth operations of the percussion. It was a masterpiece of backing vocals as well that create a deeply layered painting of illustrative instinct behind an introspective look into time.
“Why do we kick it?” is explained through the subtle work of being almost sentimental but holds a positive outlook as the album continues through the five-track odyssey. “Tick Tock” on the other hand is a warped record that balances and fades in and out of consciousness. Surprisingly, the movement is welcome as the poetic work of Perkins that is cold and forward is a contrast to the work of Muldrow. As the rest of the band works to mold this almost underwater-esque percussion and bubbling synths. As the sculpture of Flowers / Bloom moves, it becomes a finally well-rounded work of art by the end of the 31-minute journey of continuous flavors.
The Mixtapers strike a gold note as the instrumentals here are beautiful at times and almost always are engaging throughout. They work well to capture the spirit of creativity within and to deliberately deliver on some of the best guest vocalization from any jazz catalogue. As the curtain closes and the winter begins to fade in, Flowers / Bloom can keep the sunshine in for just a little while longer.