Georgia Anne Muldrow dons the Alice Coltrane-inspired mood of Jyoti for her latest set, Denderah, on her own SomeOthaShip Connect imprint. For her second project as Jyoti, Muldrow delivers playing and programming that reveals more of a straight-ahead and jazz heritage and sensibility than the first project. It’s natural given that her father is jazz multi-instrumentalist Ronald Muldrow and mother, Rickie Byars-Beckwith, who’s performed with Pharoah Sanders Ensemble, among others.
After a smooth piano intro, Georgia sets a dreamy musical tribute to Alice Coltrane called “Turiya’s Smile” (Alice Coltrane’s name later changed to Turiyasangitananda). Jyoti brings an mid-tempo organ swing groove with the following track, “The Milkman”. Then suddenly the pace is picked up as atmospheric sounds bring the feeling of spaceflight and the keys punctuate on, “Sup”, as if she’s saying hello to the stars.
We slow down to a coast in space for the track, “Max”, a slightly slower experience than when we first visited this same track on AKOSUA under Georgia Anne Muldrow’s other moniker, Pattie Blingh and The Akebulan 5. It’s followed by, “Nit”, keeping the mellow set going. The track, “Optimus Prime”, brings up the tempo and treats us to a rare set of scat vocals. Would have love to have more vocals like that throughout the record. Title track, “Denderah”, is a bluesy groove, followed later by “Siderealin'”, a wonderful ride of a song and feels the most “live” out of all the album’s tracks.
The next two tracks (“Pedal Pusher” and “Rainy Intermission”) move away the straight-ahead jazz presence and return to the spacey R&B grooves that would usually be released under her own name. Then we are treated to a last piano meditation called “There Are Guardians”.
The concert level, live audience that was spliced in the audio recording would’ve felt a bit more genuine as perhaps a smaller studio audience actually applauding after each track. However, it’s far better that the cold, no-buffer endings that were served on the first Jyoti project, Octocea. Perhaps a live Jyoti set is yet to come, because the jazz presence here would be an exciting live set to experience.