“Septet”, Kirby’s second album for Stones Throw after 2020’s “My Garden”, features guest appearances from several Los Angeles musicians. It comes out at a time when the city’s jazz scene is thriving. Kirby, who grew up in L.A., was inspired by the nature of the city and how it intersects with the urban environment. According to the official press release, his new album imagines the city’s wildlife and history, such as walking around LA with a local cougar as a pet, while the rhythmic cadence of ‘Rainmaker’ is reminiscent of “a rotating sprinkler chugging back and forth across the lawn on a hot day”. We’re excited to hear the whole album.
The video for “Rainmaker”, directed by Michael Hili is a blast to watch. The video stars John Carroll Kirby with a fictional cast of characters: Mac DeMarco as Studio Engineer; Kerwin Frost as Record Producer; Cola Boyy as Label Executive; Eddie Chacon as Body Guard; Victoria Mordoch on Percussion; Logan Hone on Flute; Leland Naylor on Soprano Saxophone; John Paul Maramba on Bass; Lemar Carter on Drums.
The video entertainingly dramatises the characters Kirby has encountered over his long career as a collaborator and studio musician: “The egomaniacal producer, the eager engineer, the snobby record exec, the random guy in the corner, the musicians feeling themselves. Visually I wanted to play with the chaos of jazz fashion in the 70’s/80’s: bands like Weather Report, and Miles Davis’ constantly rotating cast. Musicians dressed themselves with a strong sense of individuality while still achieving a cohesive look, a theme I also look to achieve musically on the album Septet.”
The actual band on “Rainmaker” is comprised of John Carroll Kirby – keys, Tracy Wannomae and Logan Hone – woodwinds, Nick Mancini – vibraphone, John Paul Maramba – bass, David Leach – percussion, Deantoni Parks – drums.
The California native John Carroll Kirby is classically trained on the piano, stands for jazz, a sought-after studio musician and producer who has worked with a wide range of contemporary artists over the past few years, including Bat for Lashes, Jonathan Wilson, Alex Cameron, Eddie Chacon and, most notably, Frank Ocean, Harry Styles and Solange, on whose last two albums Kirby was the main co-producer.
Photo: Angela Suarez