Tubman. is a historically-minded, gospel-oriented song cycle emphasizing liberation theology. Clearly influenced by Syl Johnson’s urgent 1970 album Is It Because I’m Black, the murky blend of gospel, blues and soul on Tubman. is another momentous statement from Chicago. The curtains of the mysterious project are parted for Young’s appearance on a daytime television show in his hometown.
Gospel also informs the highly anticipated album by a far more popular Chicago artist. As the programming director of the hypothetical radio station The Juice, I’d immediately put a third of the tracks on Chance the Rapper’s The Big Day into heavy rotation. In the real world, however, The Big Day is a massive disappointment. I continue to adore Chance’s outlook, but the transcendent magic that characterizes his best work is missing.
The Big Day would have benefitted from a more open embrace of Chicago’s thriving jazz scene. The city threatens to overtake New York as the jazz capital of the world. Resavoir’s thrilling new self-titled album on the essential International Anthem label documents a transportive component of Chicago’s improvised music scene that bears little resemblance to anything on the conventional The Big Day or the gritty Tubman..
(Original image of Chicago by There Stands the Glass.)