Legendary bassist, guitarist, and composer Santi Debriano’s latest release, Flash of the Spirit is an emotionally charged burst of expression that I hope will set the example for the world to follow in 2021. The title, which is derived from Robert Farris Thompson’s book that Debriano read while doing his ethnomusicology studies at Wesleyan University. The intellectual mind of the Panamanian musician has turned this literary inspiration into a ten-track work of art that the listener can enjoy, but also ponder the many social implications that are presented in the music. He is joined by long time collaborators Tommy Campbell on drums, Bill O’ Connell on piano, longtime sideman of Roy Hargrove’s, Justin Robinson on alto saxophone, Andrea Brachfeld on flute, Francisco Mela on drums, Brazilian percussionist, Valtinho Anastacio who plays in Debriano’s revolutionary ensemble Circlechant, and Tim Porter on mandolin.
The album hits the ground running with “Awesome Blues,” which listeners can get a taste of as a single that is available now! This quirky blues in 7/4 time is kicked off by Debriano’s driving rhythmical bassline and is joined by the ensemble gradually. The call and response that takes place between the ensemble and Debriano are clean and precise. Amazing solos were taken by Robinson, Brachfeld, and O’ Connell add to the fire that is set by Debriano in the beginning and the virtuosic solos by the maestro himself and Tommy Campbell are nothing short of brilliant. It’s a single that is for sure to leave you wanting more! The good news is that listeners won’t have to wait long as the full album is available on January 22nd! But feel free to burn out your listening devices to this jam, as I did!