Bright Dog Red (BDR), an improvising collective from Albany, New York, will release Somethin’ Comes Along, a double album, on September 25, 2020. Somethin’ Comes Along, marks the ensemble’s third, and most ambitious, release for Ropeadope, the influential Philadelphia area music, clothing, and culture imprint.
“Sometimes in life, something comes along, unanticipated, maybe not completely understood, that changes everything, resetting life in profound ways. Sometimes that thing is good. Other times, less so. Either way, it doesn't really matter. It’s come along, regardless of your preferences, plans, desires, or choices. In the end, though, your choices determine how you navigate through. This album is a rumination on navigating through.” -Joe Pignato
“Starting as a jazz-meets-hip-hop jam band with a loosely-defined membership, Bright Dog Red has become a fixture on the NYC jazz and improvisation scene” (Jazz Journal). The group’s sets at destination venues like NYC Winter Jazzfest, ShapeShifter Lab, Nublu, and Spectrum, have garnered the ensemble comparisons to “Mahavishnu Orchestra meets Digable Planets” (Paul Schulman), “electronic Ahmad Jamal,” (Don Lucoff), as well as to other psychedelic, jazz fusion, and hip hop luminaries.
The collective’s two previous Ropeadope releases, 2019’s How’s by You? and 2018’s Means to the Ends, have at once bemused and beguiled critics, fans, and music industry observers. Louis Marks, CEO of Ropeadope explains:
“Bright Dog Red is perhaps the most unique band to grace the halls of Ropeadope, and that’s quite an accomplishment. Bright Dog Red hits the stage without charts or set list – they simply start playing and improvise, taking cues from each other and from the audience and room. It’s adventurous, and due to the skill and rapport of the players, surprisingly cohesive.”
Somethin’ Comes Along follows in that vein. The double album features the band’s “boundary-defying music” (Modern Drummer). Described as “divine madness” (Nippertown), “smokin’ and spaced out” (Jay Hunter), BDR’s style has earned the group a reputation as “sonic groundbreakers” (NuJazz Sounds).
English DJ Nick Davies describes the allure of Bright Dog Red. The group’s music has “a sense of mystery because you don't know where it's going, where it's going to end up, it takes you on a journey.” To appreciate BDR, the UK’s Blue in Green Radio advises, “stop trying to comprehend the unravelling psychedelic experience and learn to accept its mesmerizing nature.”
The “mesmerizing nature” of Bright Dog Red reflects the ensemble’s particular methodology, one that is “thoroughly improvised” (Downbeat), eschewing ideation in favor of feeling, individualism in favor of collectivism. Whether playing for record or before an audience, the group takes the same visceral approach, reeling its way through “a stellar beatnik odyssey, filled with risks, that grows and unfurls” (The Bolg, Twin Cities, US). Joe Pignato, the group’s drummer and leader, explained:
We’re kind of a go for broke ensemble. We start with a loose plan. I’ll offer a concept or direct a player to start with a mood or style. There are the references we tend to favor, jazz, electronica, hip hop, psychedelia, and those things weave in and out, but it’s pretty open, which is liberating but kind of frightening. It can spur some confusion, trepidation, like “hmmm, what should we play?” Or, “uh, where’re we going next?” At some point though, we stop thinking about what to play and start listening for what to play. So, there’s risk, but there’s also this comforting surrender to the process.
The group’s embrace of that process has produced three albums, each replete with “thought-provoking, toe-tapping,” and “inspired music” (Modern Drummer). Somethin’ Comes Along, the most ambitious of the three, features two sides culled from three discrete sessions, each wholly improvised and recorded at Bright Dog Red’s headquarters, the Disco Studio, just outside of Albany, New York. The first side, Somethin’, features the “fiery, free-flowing” (Glide Magazine) improvisation for which Bright Dog Red has increasingly become known. The second side, Somethin’ Else, builds on the more abstract tendencies of the ensemble.
Founded by drummer Joe Pignato, BDR is comprised of a rotating cast of players. In addition to Pignato, Somethin’ Comes Along features Eric Person (sopranino, soprano, and alto saxes, flute, kalimba), Mike LaBombard (tenor sax, effects), Tyreek Jackson (guitar, electric bass), Cody Davies (sounds, electronics), Anthony Berman (acoustic bass), and Matt Coonan (poetry, freestyling, voice).
In addition to critical praise, the band has earned the esteem of peers representing a wide swath of contemporary music. First call bassist Tim Lefebvre (David Bowie, Tedeschi Trucks, Donny McCaslin) places the band’s approach “in the true spirit of improvisation,” enthusing that “BDR hits all the targets.” Live looping artist Adam Ahuja is mesmerized by BDR’s “self-reflective swing hop.” Internationally renowned DJ MANIK champions BDR’s “dope fusion improv” on his syndicated podcast Welcome to My Crate.
Since debuting in September of 2015, Bright Dog Red has played increasingly high profile bookings, including the 2020 NYC Winter Jazzfest, The Berklee College of Music, opening for George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, opening for Hip Hop sensation Decora, sharing bills with the all-star trio of Jason Lindner, Zach Danziger, and Tim Lefebvre, with the jazz surf outfit Italian Surf Academy, and with pianist and composer Zack Clarke. The band often features guest soloists such as saxophonist Morgan Guerin, live looping artist Adam Ahuja, trumpeter Jarritt Sheel, and keyboardist Matt Mottel of Talibam!.
Prior to signing with Ropeadope, BDR released two independently distributed EPs, 2017’s Bullet Proof Shoes and 2015’s Teasers, prompting bloggers Peck and JT to declare, "Put Albany’s Bright Dog Red on your radar as this jazzy psychedelic hip hop posse has potential for some progressive golden era goodness."
released September 25, 2020
All compositions by Bright Dog Red
Produced, recorded, and mixed by Joe Pignato, the Disco Studio, Delanson, New York
Additional vocal tracking by Brian Temme, Long Island, New York
Mastered by Bryan Brundige, Albany, New York
Joe Pignato / Drums, Concepts
Eric Person / Sopranino, Soprano, Alto Saxophone, Flute, Kalimba
Mike LaBombard / Tenor Saxophone, Effects
Tyreek Jackson / Guitar, Electric Bass
Cody Davies / Sounds, Electronics
Anthony Berman / Acoustic Bass
Matt Coonan / Poetry, Freestyling, Voice
supported by 23 fans who also own “Somethin' Comes Along”
Lakecia knocks this one out of the park! She does justice to the music of John and Alice Coltrane. Excellent production with Lakecia and co-producer Reggie Workman. Yes, that guy, the legend! Lots of special guests with Jazzmeia Horn, Brandee Younger, Marcus Strickland and Dee Dee Bridgewater to name a few. One of the best releases of 2020! Perhaps the next release will be on vinyl? Music of this quality deserves it! Rob O.
supported by 22 fans who also own “Somethin' Comes Along”
What a fantastic album all tracks are brilliant purchased digital download pre release after hearing Freedom Day and so pleased I did.
Are there any plans to release it on Vinyl would love to add it to my collection
Can’t wait for the next album drhandley