| ShowsZoocru Debuts New Album LucidBy: Claire Benton
On June 4th the eclectic group Zoocru, debuted their new album Lucid at Pinhook in Durham NC. “If you ask each one of us what Zoocrü means, we would all say something different, we all have our own definition” Alan Thompson explained about the five-piece jazz band. Watching them was like watching five guys in their own worlds but on the same planet, communicating effortlessly. Preceded by two other bands Tha Materials and Ncognito, the crowd packed close together, ready for Zoocru to take the stage. Howard “Soul” Joyner opened up the show on the key board as the band followed; their instruments filled the room and captivated the crowds attention. As the set began, Thompson invited the crowd to join them on a “journey through music,” and a journey it was.
Though technically a Jazz band, it is difficult to label Zoocru to a single genre of music. Their cd musically compares to one of Four Play, a contemporary Jazz quartet most popular in the early ’90’s, but is lyrically reminiscent of rappers such as Mos Def, or 9th wonder. The quality of music rivals seasoned artists but yet is still very youthful and relevant; their first studio album, Lucid, begins by combining traditional jazz elements and a spoken word piece by Dasan Ahanu that seems to describe the crews relationship with music. “Realization kissed me…I think I might have found the one, that piece of purpose that saves you from perdition” recites Ahanu, as guitar and saxophone runs enter and exit at their own will. The intro sets the listener up for this “journey” that Thompson previously described.
Lucid takes listeners through the winding roads of life as a young cultured musician; addressing love, race, and cultural barriers. By overlapping serious topics such as race with brilliant instrumentation, Zoocru enthralls listeners and firmly gets their point across. This theme is especially apparent in “Redneck Interlude,” the drums and guitar carry the song with a constant beat that allows you to focus on the lyrics like “white washed culture” and “think beyond your own self.” The simple music actually intensifies the message. As the speech grows in energy, so does the music. The Zoocrü’s approach to the topic is intelligent, bold, and unifies cultures, rather than points fingers.
“Naked,” the final track on Lucid, opens up with a mini duet between guitarist Russell Favret and guest artist Coey Rochelle. The bass line is smooth and gives the track an R&B feel, forgetting it is a jazz song until the saxophone solo when drummer Johnathan Curry changes the beat to a syncopated rhythm. Coey’s vocals blend with the band almost as another instrument, reciting powerful lyrics such as “ …I’ll let go of the need to be perfect, just let me see you for humanities purpose…”
As the album comes to a close Dasan Ahanu creates the outro, a collection of sounds that float together harmoniously, ending where they began. The album as a whole is pieced together purposefully and is not limited by the perception of what a jazz album should be. The nine tracks flowed like a story with no musical boundaries. Lucid is well deserved of the recognition it will surely receive and Zoocru will most definitely be a band to watch.