Acute Inflections: The Brave
By GEANNINE REID
December 11, 2018
There has been a rise in the popularity of performing and recording duos in jazz in the late 2010s. One of the most sought-after partnerships in NYC for high-end parties is that of bassist Sadiki Pierre and vocalist Elasea Douglas.
Though Pierre and Douglas’ backgrounds are quite diverse, a connective tissue is a love of improvisation. Pierre comes from a classical and jazz background. At a young age his parents recognized his propensity for music. Though in sixth grade Pierre was really looking to see how he could get out of class. Although his parents could not initially afford to buy him his own instrument and pay for private lessons, music usually finds a way. He was chosen to perform with the New York State School Music Association’s All-State Orchestra. In addition to performing with a prestigious student orchestra throughout Europe. Encouraged to attend Juilliard or Berklee, Pierre chose a different path and attended an aviation college and achieved his dream of being a professional pilot. Though almost 10 years later he would once again come back to music.
Douglas, equally active in the performance field, pursued her love of dance and theater. She performed in several Off-Broadway shows including Dreamgirls and, most impressively, a one-woman show called A Role Once Played. She made her Broadway debut as part of the original cast of the award winning show FELA!. When Pierre and Douglas met each other, the path was clear. In 2013, they formed their Acute Inflections duo. After many performances across the U.S. for premier private functions, the duet was encouraged repeatedly to record a CD, which culminated into their debut offering The Brave.
A winning collection of well-known songs including classics like “Over The Rainbow,” Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black” and an epic take on “The Star-Spangled Banner” called “The Brave.” Kicking off the album with “L-O-V-E,” the playful buoyancy of the duet is in full view. Douglas is fun and flirty in her articulation, while Pierre expressively fills out the harmonic support and outlines the melody.
“Latch,” originally made famous by the UK artist Sam Smith, is taken to task with a stripped-down rendition that focuses on the beauty of the lyric. Pierre drives the pace as Douglas flowers the melody with soulfulness. Winehouse’s “Back to Black” is approached .with percussive beats on the upright bass and long plucking elongated notes. Douglas painstakingly draws out each note with clarity and intonation, before up ticking the beat with great result. The take on “The Star-Spangled Banner” is striking. Douglas soars in her upper register with clarity and resonance. While Pierre holds strong to a solid rhythm with striking percussive attack and intonation.
The Brave is a kaleidoscope of popular songs and classic standards approached with originality and nerve.
Track Listing: L-O-V-E; Latch; Kiss; Back to Black; No Ordinary Love; The Brave; Over the Rainbow.
Personnel: Elasea Douglas: vocals; Sadiki Pierre: bass.