Via 22a ‘The Shakedown’ is the debut album from Tenderlonious and features a new band – the dream team of top talent he named the 22archestra, who he leads seamlessly throughout. Listeners are exposed to the full breadth of Tender’s technical and compositional skills, ranging from subtly meandering jazz, to hip-hop, afrobeat, latin and exhilarating free form jazz.
‘SV Disco,’ a nod to the mighty Slum Village, is a chunk of sensually-contorted disco vibes that brings on full party mode instantaneously, with the slinky bass licks and pitch-bent synthesizer recalling Roy Ayres’s blissed-out funk, blended with flute flurries reminiscent of mind Max Cilla’s La Flûte des Mornes.
‘Maria’ showcases Ed’s roots as sample-based producer, pulling influence from around the globe to create an undulating piece of flute-led Brazilian fusion that fans of Ruby Rushton will find familiar. The eastern-inspired embellishments raise the temperature further, whilst former Yussef Kamaal member Yussef Dayes’ sizzling cymbals and shuffling snare work propel the track onwards, locking down a signature 22a groove.
Latin and African influence can be heard across many of the tracks. ‘Togo’ is a smokey afrobeat jam that leaves space for Tenderlonious’ flute to soar above, his playing mimicking old school styles you might catch from MF Doom or J Dilla.
‘Yussef’s Groove’ kicks off with driving drums, and each of the 22archestra enter steadily, fully utilizing their virtuosic power, switching between low-slung bass, chic open piano solos and hazy electric piano.
‘The Shakedown’ exercises more restraint, with Bitches Brew style ambiance providing a palpable sense of anticipation and passion, whilst still retaining that stomping, low-riding 70s swing they do so well.
The 22archestra was conceived after Tenderlonious was invited to record at Abbey Road Studios. The whole crew was rounded-up and the album was recorded during a single 8 hour session – a testament to their musicianship and ability to nail a take, which has been honed on stage.